Work has started on a massive £75,000 restoration project on the town’s war memorial after commemorative plaques were stolen from the monument.
Ampthill Town Council has been working on raising the money needed to restore the monument that had 14 plaques stolen several years ago from the town’s war memorial at Ampthill Park.
And it now just has £900 left to raise.
It has received the majority of the funding from various groups and individuals, including the War Memorials Trust, Waste Recycling Energy Fund (WREN), the Duke of Bedford, and The Queens Head pub.
Town mayor Roy Tebbutt said: “Ampthill Park was actually used as a training park soldiers in Bedfordshire during the First World War. Out of the 2,500 soldiers that trained at the park more than 700 never returned.
“The war memorial had the names of all the 707 people that were killed on 21 plaques, but they were stolen a number of years ago. We now plan to put those names back on new plaques and clean the seven remaining ones.
“I think when you see the figure that 700 out of 2,500 men never returned from the war it brings you up with a bit of a jolt. We want to remember those people who sacrificed their lives.”
Initial works will involve the removal of all of the plaques and the sword at the top of the memorial so that cleaning and stone work repairs can be carried out. The existing plaques will be restored and new plaques cast to replace those previously lost.
The council originally had a shortfall of £14,000 after receiving grants, but following an anonymous donation of £10,000, and a donation from Flitwick branch of the Royal British Legion, it was left needing just over £1,000. People have since been sponsoring a name on the memorial for £25 each. If you would like to sponsor a name send a cheque to the Ampthill Town Council offices.