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War memorial rescued from social club

MEMORIAL MOVE: Barry Meters, construction manager for Keepmoat, left, with other members of staff from Keepmoat who helped to move the memorial to a safe place.

MEMORIAL MOVE: Barry Meters, construction manager for Keepmoat, left, with other members of staff from Keepmoat who helped to move the memorial to a safe place.

A WAR memorial which lost its home after a club closed has been preserved for future generations.

Before the Murton Victoria Club shut down, work began to remove the plaque and ornate wooden surround.

A campaign is now being launched to fund plans to restore it and put it on view.

Murton Heritage Group worked alongside club committee members to dismantle the piece and move it, with the help of housing company Keepmoat, into storage.

The memorial displays the name of servicemen and women who died in the First and Second World Wars, who were members of the club, also known as the Big Club.

Derek Gibson, secretary of the heritage group, works for Northumbrian Water, which also helped the move.

He said: “I was drinking in the Big Club a few months ago and I was asked how they could get the memorial out and I started looking into it. It took about six men and myself and we had to expose the fixings before we started to dismantle it.”

Housing and regeneration specialists Keepmoat stepped in as part of the work that it is undertaking within the area on behalf of East Durham Homes.

Barry Metters, construction manager at Keepmoat, said: “Our client, East Durham Homes asked if we would be able to dismantle the memorial and move it. We agreed to do so immediately as we felt it would be a travesty if the memorial could not be saved.”

The history enthusiasts hope to raise around £4,000 to restore and create a display case for the memorial at the Glebe Centre, along with scrolls handed over for safe keeping by the village’s Royal British Legion Club.

A planning application has been submitted to build homes on the club site.

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