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