Ballater War Memorial honoured in national awards

Ballater Memorial has been named the best small memorial with gardens at Legion Scotland’s 40th annual awards ceremony.

Ballater War Memorial won the Small Community with Gardens category.
Ballater War Memorial won the Small Community with Gardens category.

Robert Aldridge, the Rt Hon Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and David Paton, national vice chairman of Legion Scotland, presented the Best Kept War Memorial awards at New Haig House in Edinburgh earlier this month.

Judges recognised memorials of all sizes in the nationwide competition, with winners ranging from Cockburnspath in the Scottish Borders and the Royal Scots Fusiliers Memorial in Ayrshire, to Dingwall and Fort William and District in the Highlands.

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Lord Provost Robert Aldridge said: “War memorials provide an important place for reflection and the continued interest in the ‘Best Kept War Memorial in Scotland’ competition underlines the importance of remembering those of our fellow citizens, alongside those from elsewhere, who made the ultimate sacrifice in serving our country.

“It is truly impressive that, against the backdrop of the long period of Covid-mitigations, the competition this year was as passionate and of as high standard as always.”

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The competition was established in 1982 following concerns that many Scottish war memorials had fallen into a poor state.

Horticulturalist Bill Tait, who had worked on Scotland in Bloom as well as at Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden, conceived of the contest to encourage groups to improve their condition and appearance.

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Mr Tait, who now leads the judging panel, said: “War memorials are a very important part of Scottish communities, commemorating the sacrifices made by local people from the First World War to more recent conflicts.

"Thanks to the efforts of local volunteers, councils, and Legion Scotland members, we’ve seen many improve over the years, with some that were in the poorest condition now regular winners.

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“The competition is always very popular, and this year saw an exceptionally high standard of entries.

"It’s inspiring to travel round Scotland and see the pride that local communities take in looking after their memorial and ensuring it looks its best.