Springbourne Homes chairman Adrian Burr’s painstaking, two year quest to restore an abandoned World War One Memorial to its former glory has finally been achieved – fittingly on Remembrance Day!
Adrian and the Springbourne management team marked the occasion with a small, socially distanced service to lay a wreath and observe a two minute’s silence at the newly refurbished Memorial in Wellsborough, near Market Bosworth.
It was the fulfilment of Adrian’s promise to renovate and relocate the historic Memorial into a new Peace Garden alongside the firm’s prestigious Hornsey Rise development in Bosworth Road.
He explained: “I first found the Memorial in a sorry and neglected state in the overgrown and neglected grounds of a former care home in Wellsborough, which I’d bought to re-develop into a site for new homes.
“It had been damaged and desecrated with heartless thieves having stolen the brass plaque which commemorated the war heroes who’d made the ultimate sacrifice.
“I was disgusted by that and was determined to do the right thing by totally restoring the Memorial and then give it pride of place in a new Peace Garden to ensure those heroes would never be forgotten.”
Adrian, whose thriving family business is based in Market Bosworth, immediately launched a nationwide search to find out more about the Memorial and the brave men to whom it had been dedicated.
He appeared on BBC TV and Radio, and in numerous newspaper articles, to broadcast his appeal for information as far and wide as possible.
Months of research and enquiries resulted in the discovery that the Memorial had originally been erected in memory of 380 members of the now defunct Natsopa printers’ union, who were killed in WW1.
Further investigations subsequently uncovered all the names of the men who had died in the conflict between 1914-18, which will now be honoured and recorded at the Memorial Peace Garden.
Adrian added: “As soon as we had the information it was full steam ahead to try and make this happen in time for an inaugural commemoration service on November 11th.
“I’m delighted we succeeded and it was certainly an emotional and moving moment as we gathered in the garden to lay a wreath and observe a two minute’s silence at 11am on the eleventh of the eleventh.
“We had originally planned a much bigger and grander event to mark the occasion but unfortunately Covid-19 and lockdown prevented that, although those restrictions actually made this inaugural event feel all the more personal and poignant for the Springbourne team.”
Those feelings were heightened as Burr read out the emotive “For the Fallen” poem by Robert Laurence Binyon, which includes the famous lines “At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.”
The resplendent Memorial stands alongside Bosworth Road at the end of a newly-constructed pathway which cuts through an avenue of trees and leads to the Peace Garden.
The enclosed Garden, which is open to the public, can also be entered through a set of custom-built, wrought iron gates bearing the inscription “Lest We Forget” which the Springbourne chairman also commissioned.
A special QR code will be displayed in the Garden allowing visitors to access the full history of the memorial, the names of the fallen and the long, regal history of the Hornsey Rise site.