Ambitious plans to honour Falkirk’s war dead are back on track despite a major funding application falling through.
Friends of Falkirk War Memorial were left with a worrying gap in their finances when Falkirk Environment Trust suddenly announced it would not be making any awards at the moment.
However, an appeal to Falkirk’s Common Good Fund has allowed the project to continue as it has agreed to underwrite any shortfall – while hoping it won’t be necessary.
Work is now expected to begin this summer.
Speaking to the committee on behalf of the Friends of Falkirk War Memorial, local historian Ian Scott explained that having a guarantee of funding was vital to make sure the memorial is ready for this year’s Remembrance Day in November.
But he added that fundraising was well underway, thanks to local organisations including the Rotary Club of Falkirk, and local regimental associations.
The total cost of the project is estimated at almost £112,000.
Fundraisers are keeping their fingers crossed an application for around £21,500 from the Robert Barr Charitable Trust will be met with favourably when its members meet next month.
Councillors were keen to seek assurances that the Common Good Fund was only being used to underwrite the funding gap, although all were very supportive of the project which has already received a substantial donation of £55,476 from the fund.
Mr Scott showed councillors some of the many letters they had received from local organisations including The Rotary Club of Falkirk and Trinity Church and assured councillors he was confident the money would be raised in time.
He said: “We don’t want this to be paid for by the council. It’s important that this belongs to the community and that they feel like they are supporting us.
“Our foot will be hard to the metal to make sure the Common Good Fund has put in no more that it has already pledged.”
The remodelling of the memorial will mean that the names of nearly 1600 people – including two women – who died in service the First and Second World Wars will be finally be displayed, etched on black granite which has already been ordered.
The new design will greatly improve accessibility for disabled people, although passers-by on Camelon Road will not notice a huge difference.
In order to reduce costs, the design has been changed to use precast concrete instead of stone as originally planned, although the memorial’s designer Maurice Robb assured the meeting it would have the same longevity as stone.
Supporting the plea, after hearing from Mr Scott and Mr Robb, council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said: “It’s proper that the Common Good Fund contributes to this. It’s exactly what it was meant to do.”
Other members of the committee echoed their admiration of the project and pledged their support.
Mr Scott said the new memorial would help to right a “massive wrong” that was done to the district in 1926, when the original monument was erected with no names.
He said: “Long after we’re gone, the people of Falkirk will still be coming to the memorial and we can say that our generation sorted it out!”
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Scott said: “We are very grateful for this act of good faith and for the strong support members have given the project from the start.
“We are confident that with the help of the whole Falkirk community we will reach our target and begin the work of restoring the monument, and inscribing the names of the fallen, in the late summer.”