The Conserved Memorial
Heritage Lottery Fund awards £9,900 to the Friends of St Andrew’s to conserve the Porthill WW1 War Memorial and commemorate the Centenary of the end of The Great War
The Memorial before Conservation
The Friends of St Andrew’s Church Porthill, have received a National Lottery grant of £9,900 to conserve the Porthill WW1 War Memorial, which stands prominently outside the east window of the church.
The War Memorial has stood outside St Andrew’s since 1953, when it was relocated from the old crossroads at the top of Porthill Bank due to the widening of the road. It provides a focal point for the community, particularly on Remembrance Sunday, when many local people gather for the annual Act of Remembrance at 11am, including many children and young people from local uniformed organisations. 146 names of local men who gave their lives in The Great War are recorded on 16 stone tablets which were laid around the memorial.
Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will enable this highly significant Memorial to be conserved for future generations. The conservation will see the Memorial be thoroughly cleaned and repointed. In addition, bird netting will be installed on the church window, to prevent the nesting of birds above, whilst the 16 stone tablets will be relocated from the ground to the east wall of the church, which will enable the names to be more easily read, as well as removing any chance of them being damaged by people walking on them. The result of this work will ensure the War Memorial remains a fitting tribute to those who gave their lives for generations to come.
In addition to the work, the project will enable the Friends to put on two Open Days on Saturday October 6th and Saturday November 10th. These Open Days will run from 10am-4pm, and will enable many from the local community to join together to commemorate both the centenary of the end of the Great War, and the conservation of the War Memorial. The Open Days will include exhibitions of WW1 memorabilia from local residents and the Brampton Museum, displays from local schools and from the Lichfield Cathedral “Consequences of War” exhibition, the reading of war poetry, appearances from the 1st Porthill Drum Corps, and a cascade of poppies. In addition, both days will include a performance of “Letters From War” by Professional Repertory Theatre Group ‘Act It Out CIC’ (2pm on October 6th and 1pm on November 10th), and the War Memorial will be re- dedicated by Geoff Annas, Bishop of Stafford, at 11am on November 10th.
Chair of The Friends of St Andrew’s, Steve Brown, said: ‘We are very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for their generous support which has enabled this conservation work to go ahead. We are also thankful for the contractors involved in the work, who have put great care and professionalism into ensuring the War Memorial’s conservation has been achieved to the highest standard.’
Fr Chris Routledge, Vicar of St Andrew’s Church, said: ‘The fact that Remembrance Sunday is the best-attended service of the year at our church is indicative of how important this day is to the people of Porthill. The conservation of the War Memorial and the Open Days will help to ensure that our collective memory of those who gave their lives will be sustained for generations yet to come.’
Vanessa Harbar, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands said: ‘The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. Thanks to National Lottery players, HLF has already invested more than £94 million to more than 1,900 projects – large and small – that are marking this global Centenary. With our small grants programme, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in conserving the Porthill WW1 War Memorial to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.