WWI memorial is saved in Haywards Heath

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A forgotten memorial to the fallen in the Great War has been restored and saved from collapse thanks to a tireless campaign by Daniel Kington.

Daniel, who is chairman of the Haywards Heath branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “The ornate marble crucifix was erected in the Western Road Cemetery by traumatised families and friends of the men who lost their lives.

“Nobody knows who built the seven foot high memorial, other than a Mrs Stanton who is listed as purchasing the plot in the Roman Catholic portion of the cemetery, in 1919.”

Thanks to Daniel’s perseverance and the generosity of an anonymous benefactor, the newly restored memorial will be unveiled at a ceremony of re-dedication at 11am on Friday( February 1)

The restoration work was carried out just in time. Burrowing wildlife had left the plinth sinking into the ground, with chipped stonework and weeds forcing their way through the cracks.

The memorial pre-dates the town’s main war memorial on Muster Green by several years and Daniel, 46, led a seven year campaign to save it.

Local cadets and the Haywards Heath Town Council helped Daniel to clear some of the encroaching foliage and prevented the blackened stonework from deteriorating further but early attempts to secure restoration funding failed.

The breakthrough came in 2007 when the memorial was given a Grade II listing and publicity about the state of the memorial in the Middy and The Citizen prompted an anonymous benefactor to step forward.

Contractors Burslem dismantled the memorial in November 2012, stabilised the foundations and cleaned the stonework before re-assembling the structure, which was found to have tilted slightly over time.

Among those present at the re-dedication ceremony on February 1 will be Nicholas Soames MP and John Sabin, the town mayor as well as members of the Royal British Legion with their Branch Standards, veterans and members of the public.

The service will be conducted by Father Martin Jakubas of St Paul’s Roman Catholic Church.

Daniel is very grateful to everyone who has stepped in to help save the memorial, especially the anonymous benefactor and Mid Sussex MP Nicholas Soames.