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Bilston's war memorial ready for revamp after fundraising target hit

By Pete Madeley | Bilston | News | Published:

Bilston's war memorial is set to be restored to its former glory in time to mark 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Bilston War Memorial is to be restored to its former glory

And the names of 40 fallen servicemen will be added to the famous stone cross memorial in Oxford Street, which is in line for restoration after campaigners raised the £32,000 necessary for the job.

The Bilston Remembered group says it has hit its target after a three year fundraising battle battle.

Work is due to start on the revamp next month. It will follow a re-dedication ceremony at the memorial on August 4, marking the date Britain declared war on Germany.

It will see the stone cross and plaques cleaned and restored, railings repainted and the surrounding stone wall repaired, while the new names will be carved into slate.

It is hoped the job will be finished by mid-October, enabling a major event to be held there on November 11 to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Bilston Rotary Club secretary Ken Dolman, a member of the Bilston Remembered committee, said: "We are thrilled to bits at having raised enough money to be able to start on this extensive restoration project.

"This has been made possible by the hard work and efforts of the committee and the people of Bilston."

Part of the revamp will see the names of fallen servicemen from the Bilston, Ettingshall and Bradley area added to the memorial.

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Their names came to light after Wolverhampton Council was contacted by family members of the deceased. "

Bilston Remembered was formed to oversee fundraising for the project with an initial target of £54,000.

It was expecting to receive £30,000 from the War Memorials Trust, but ended up getting just £1,400 due to over-subscription – a figure that did not even cover the cost of the professional sketches required to detail the work.

Mr Dolman said the committee went back to the drawing board and ditched plans to replace wrought iron railings around the site, saving more than £20,000.

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The cash has been raised through scores of donations and fundraising events, including a recent bike-a-thon organised by Mayor and Bilston councillor Phil Page which brought in more than £4,000.

An unnamed local businessman gave £10,000, West Midlands Police chipped in with £1,000 from its proceeds of crime fund, and more than £500 was raised by a revival of the New Year's Day football match between Bilston Town and Darlaston Town.

The re-dedication ceremony takes place at the memorial on August 4 from 11.30am. Details of the event on November 11 will be released later this year.

Several of Wolverhampton's war memorials are going through programmes of restoration and repair.

The memorials in Heath Town and Wednesfield, as well as the Harris memorial in St Peter's Gardens, Wolverhampton, have been restored to their former glory, while memorials in Church Road, Pennfields, and at St Michael and All Angels Church in Tettenhall, are in line for work.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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