Councillor Renard’s Swindon Advertiser Column, 9th November 2017

Councillor David Renard, Leader of the Council

This weekend Swindon will join other towns and cities across the country in falling silent to remember those who have fought in conflicts to preserve the freedom that we enjoy today.

Swindon’s Lydiard Park hosts the Royal British Legion’s Field of Remembrance

There will be a number of opportunities for people to pay their respects over the coming days, whether it is at the official opening of the Royal British Legion’s Field of Remembrance at Lydiard Park’s Walled Garden tomorrow (10 Nov) or at the two minute’s silence at The Cenotaph in the town centre on Saturday.

And of course on Remembrance Sunday itself we will honour those who gave their lives and those who survived at the many services being held across the town.

Unveiling Swindon’s restored First World War Memorial

Here at the Council we will be paying our own special tribute to the fallen with the unveiling of a special plaque in the main reception area of Civic Offices this afternoon (9 Nov). Swindon’s World War One memorial was purchased along with The Cenotaph by public conscription not long after 1918 as a permanent reminder of more than 900 people from the town, who died during the Great War.

The memorial, which is a huge wooden plaque, was placed in the old Town Hall in Regent Circus but, unfortunately, over time, suffered water damage and has been out of public view for a number of years. Until now.

Three years ago, my cabinet colleague Cllr Garry Perkins asked our Museums and Heritage team to secure external funding to bring the memorial back to its former glory and I’m pleased that we are able to once again display this great tribute at this particularly poignant time.

Cllr Perkins took up the baton to have the memorial restored after an initial request from the late former Mayor Rex Barnett. I know Rex would have been immensely proud to see the memorial back on show especially as it also bears the name of his own father who lost his life during the war.

We also wanted to put the solid oak plaque back on public display within the centenary of the Great War and I am delighted we have been able to do so.

Roll of Honour to Remember the Fallen in World War Two

The restoration of the memorial is the latest project to honour our fallen with Swindon Libraries’ Local Studies team having trawled through local records to compile a Roll of Honour for those from Swindon who lost their lives during the Second World War.

When you pause to reflect this weekend, I would ask you to spare a few moments to think about our local heroes. They may be no longer be with us, but they will never be forgotten.