WORK is under way to preserve a memorial honouring a town’s war heroes for generations to come.
A campaign to raise £40,000 to restore the monument in Seaham Town Park has come to a swift conclusion after investigations showed only a fraction of the work initially proposed needed to be carried out.
A survey has found the monument, unveiled in 1923, does not need to be underpinned.
Now a revised project, which will see almost £12,000 spent in improvements and safety work, has begun.
Seaham-based contractor St Astier is repointing the memorial, with the surrounding walls, steps, chains and fence posts to be reinstated.
The monument revamp is being carried out thanks to a £10,000 contribution from Seaham Town Council, £1,000 from Durham Miners’ Association, £500 from Seaham School of Technology and £280 from New Seaham Primary.
The council, which is responsible for the park and the structure, is to discuss how money raised through the Remember Them Fund and other support groups can be used.
They had aimed to collect £20,000 and then seek match funding to cover the cost of the project.
Town council leader Eddie Mason said: “Once the works are complete, the war memorial will stand proud in what is becoming a very popular park.
“The council is also looking at a later date to replace the old closed-panel wooden fencing along the Park View boundary with see-through ornate metal fencing and also up-lighting of the memorial to provide a beautiful view as people enter the town.”
Derek Bland, treasurer of the Friends of Seaham War Memorials, said: “It will be great to see the memorial works completed for Remembrance Day and we hope to hold an event with the schools that helped with the fund-raising.”
Jim Croft, St Astier’s associate director, said: “We have checked the condition of the sculptured figures, which seem sound and appear to have good fixings.
“We have also de-scaled all loose material likely to become detached and gently removed algae and lichen with water and soft brushes, raked out all open mortar joints and stemmed and re-pointed them with a lime based mortar.”
The suggestion of moving the memorial to another location in the town was ruled out for various reasons, including the cost which would have been in the region of £90,000.
THE memorial was first unveiled by the Marquis of Londonderry on July 1, 1923, after it was bought by the people of New Seaham at a cost of £1,300.
It stands 30ft high and is topped with a winged and torch-bearing figure of liberty.
Pillars at each side carry a soldier of the Durham Light Infantry and a Royal Navy sailor, with a polished granite panel bearing a dedication stood between them.
The names of those who died from 1914 to 1918 are engraved into three columns.
The names of those who lost their lives from 1939 to 1945 are detailed on separate columns.