Boost for French Pass me­mo­rial

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - CHLOE RANFORD

A com­mu­nity group has re­ceived help to in­stall a per­ma­nent war me­mo­rial over­look­ing a scenic Marl­bor­ough Sounds bay.

The French Pass Hall Com­mit­tee Me­mo­rial Group has been granted $8000 in funds to build a stone wall me­mo­rial in French Pass.

The me­mo­rial would com­mem­o­rate New Zealan­ders who did not re­turn from World War I and World War II, in­clud­ing 11 men from the French Pass re­gion.

Group mem­ber An­gela Fitch­ett said at present the fallen sol­diers were ac­knowl­edged on a wooden Roll of Hon­our plaque in­side the French Pass Me­mo­rial Hall, which was not ac­ces­si­ble for pub­lic view.

The Roll of Hon­our showed that of the French Pass res­i­dents who died in ser­vice, five died dur­ing WWI and six in WWII.

Fitch­ett said it was hoped the es­tab­lish­ment of a new, per­ma­nent me­mo­rial op­po­site the town’s hall would help res­i­dents bet­ter pay their re­spect to fallen loved ones.

The pro­posed me­mo­rial wall would be con­structed of stone and con­tain stone plaques.

Fitch­ett said the group was also look­ing at in­clud­ing stones in the wall from where each of the men lived.

It also hoped to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion pan­els about each res­i­dent, such as where they served and where they died.

‘‘[It’s a] rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the dis­tance they trav­elled,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s a long, long way to go to some­where like Gal­lipoli, for ex­am­ple, from French Pass.’’

The group had reached out to rel­a­tives of sol­diers listed on the cur­rent Roll of Hon­our and had re­ceived a good level of sup­port for the pro­ject.

The ad­join­ing land owner to the town’s hall, Te Haeata Trust, which was part of Ngati Koata Trust, also sup­ported the me­mo­rial pro­posal.

Quotes col­lected by the me­mo­rial group es­ti­mated the war me­mo­rial pro­ject would cost a to­tal of $13,000.

This in­cluded $8000 for me­mo­rial wall de­sign and pro­ject costs, $2000 for dis­play wall with in­di­vid­ual sto­ries, and $3000 for miscellaneous costs, for­mal con­se­cra­tion and an open­ing cer­e­mony.

The group had re­ceived some pledges of fi­nan­cial sup­port and in­tended to ap­ply for more sources of fund­ing, but sought fund­ing sup­port from the coun­cil to en­sure the pro­ject could be­gin.

Fitch­ett said the wall would be built on coun­cil re­serve land off Croisilles-French Pass Rd, which was the ‘‘cen­tre of the com­mu­nity’’ and ‘‘a nat­u­ral stop­ping point’’ for vis­i­tors.

It was hoped the me­mo­rial would be com­pleted in time for next year’s An­zac Day com­mem­o­ra­tions.

The coun­cil ap­proved the con­struc­tion and agreed to fund $8000 to­wards the pro­ject at an as­sets and ser­vices meet­ing last week.

It also sup­ported the ap­pli­ca­tion to the com­mu­nity projects fund of the small town­ship pro­gramme for fur­ther fund­ing sup­port.

The small town­ship pro­gramme aimed to en­hance the iden­tity of small towns in the re­gion by fund­ing projects that im­prove out­door spa­ces and ur­ban de­sign.

The coun­cil bud­geted $5 mil­lion for the pro­gramme in the 2015 long-term plan to be spread across nine years.

Once es­tab­lished, the me­mo­rial would be cared for by the com­mu­nity and as part of the coun­cil’s cur­rent main­te­nance of me­mo­rial sites.

SUP­PLIED

The best seat in the house. Tessa, 20, takes in the beau­ti­ful vis­tas of French Pass and Ad­mi­ralty Bay.

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