War Memorials Campaign

This year marks the centenary of the end of The First World War. With such a landmark anniversary approaching, it got me thinking about the millions of British veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice during that conflict – including one of my great uncles. It also got me thinking about our servicemen and women who have died serving their country in conflicts since. 

We should never forget those who have been killed or wounded to protect our freedoms. Whether it be during one of the World Wars, or in conflicts since, we will always remember those brave men and women.

Up and down the country there are thousands of reminders of the fallen. From the smallest village to the largest city, war memorials commemorate those who have died in action. They are a focus for communities on Armistice Day every year, a place where many of us gather in solemn remembrance. They are a place where we pay our respect to our fallen heroes.

Over the coming year I will be working to raise awareness of our war memorials, the names carved on them and the stories behind them.

Sadly, however, some war memorials are in need of repair or of some care. Over the decades, British weather and simple wear and tear have resulted in damage. That is why, in this very special year, I am launching a campaign in the East Midlands to repair some of these very special war memorials.

I am calling on local communities throughout the East Midlands to come forward to tell me if their local war memorial is need of some attention. I and my team can then try to point them in the right direction to apply for funding, advice on raising funds locally or give advice on the appropriate care of what are often delicate historic monuments – sometimes inappropriate works can be worse than doing nothing. I want to ensure that our war memorials continue to stand for a further 100 years in memory of the fallen.

I will shortly be writing to community groups, charities and elected representatives encouraging them to come forward. I am also going to be raising awareness of this issue in the European Parliament. You will be able to keep up-to-date with the campaign via this website. 

I will also be using this year to highlight some of the human stories of those in the East Midlands who have fought for their country. Do keep an eye on my social media for more information.

In the meantime, if you think your local war memorial could do with repair, please get in touch with me at rupert.matthews@europarl.europa.eu and I will do all I can to help.

Let’s make 2018 the year where we do all we can to protect our war memorials.