THE Scottish Government today announced plans to establish a special fund to allow communities across the country to restore their war memorials to mark next year’s 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.
• £1m will help communities restore war memorials ahead of First World War centenary
• Funding available over the course of the four year commemorations from 2014-18 to allow communities to choose best time to restore war memorials
The £1 million Centenary Memorials Restoration Fund will be used to help memorials to the fallen from the Great War in villages, towns and cities across Scotland to be cleaned and refurbished before the anniversary in 2014.
The funding was announced by First Minister Alex Salmond today during a visit to the war memorial at Fyvie in Aberdeenshire.
Mr Salmond said: “The events in 2014 to mark the anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War will not be a celebration in Scotland, but a commemoration of the servicemen and women who paid the ultimate price in defence of our country.
”Scotland’s war memorials – from the magnificent to the more modest – pay tribute to those fallen and will be an important part of the commemorations in communities the length and breadth of Scotland during 2014.”
He continued: “The Aberdeenshire village of Fyvie, for example, lost 67 men from that parish on the battlefields of Europe – a figure that represented a devastating blow to such a small community. Some of those men fought for other countries - Australia, Canada and New Zealand - but each will have left loved ones and ancestors behind in Aberdeenshire who will never forget them.
“The Fyvie memorial is maintained beautifully, but there are some in Scotland in need of upgrade to get them up to standard for the commemorations. That is why I am delighted to announce the launch of the Centenary Memorials Restoration Fund, which will offer grants to those who care for these important monuments for works to be carried out.
“Each memorial in Scotland reminds us of the sacrifice made by those who died during the Great War, the Second World War and other conflicts. They remind us of the futility of war and the necessity that we never forget the sacrifice made by those who fell in conflict.”
There are estimated to be between 5,000 to 6,000 memorials to the war dead across Scotland.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Scotland’s war memorials will be cleaned and restored in readiness for the anniversary of the First World War through a new fund being made available to communities across the country.
“The additional £1 million for the Centenary Memorials Restoration Fund will pay for the upgrade and maintenance of memorials in villages, towns and cities in Scotland that pay tribute to those who gave their lives during both world wars and other conflicts.”
He continued: “Historic Scotland has supported the sensitive conservation and repair of war memorials in Scotland since 2008 through a dedicated grant scheme administered by the War Memorials Trust (WMT). The creation of this new fund, which is open now, will allow communities across Scotland to carry out maintenance of memorials as part the 100th anniversary of the First World War.
“The funding will be available over the course of the four year centenary commemorations from 2014-18 to allow communities to choose the best time to restore their war memorials, from the start of commemorations in August 2014 until Armistice Day 2018.”
The spokesman added: “The Scottish Government is working with a range of military and veterans’ organisations, cultural bodies, education groups and the UK Government on a range of proposals to commemorate the centenary of World War I to ensure Scotland plays its full part in the activities being planned across the UK. Further plans will be announced in due course.”