Garden to honour 'heroic' Staffords
PLANS for a memorial garden for the Staffords have been revived after the Government's controversial decision to scrap the battalion.
Town councillors in Biddulph want to push forward with proposals to create a permanent monument to Staffordshire's soldiers in the town.
The plans were first conceived by former mayor Maureen Roberts in 2007, following the death of Private Johnathon Wysoczan in Iraq.
The 21-year-old, from Biddulph, was shot by a sniper while serving with the Staffordshire Regiment in Basra.
Save 10% off any cleaner ending 7p with this voucher
i.e. £99.97 would save you £10
All the top brands, Dyson,Miele,Siemens,Panasonic,Sebo,Numatic & more
Clean up with our Sring Cleaner offer
Print this voucher and hand in at any store to save 10% off any 7p pricepoint
Shop local and you can always get the belts etc from us as well so you arn't left searching for them.
Contact: 01782 342609
Valid until: Saturday, June 08 2013
While around £2,000 for the memorial was raised, the project has since stalled.
But town councillors are now determined to make it happen, now that the Staffords' 300-year history is set to come to an end.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced last week that The 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment, the current incarnation of the Staffords, would be cut along with 16 other Army units.
Councillor Ken Harper, who spoke about the issue at a meeting of the council's tourism sub-committee, said the announcement had given the project new impetus.
He said: "I think this Government has absolutely betrayed the armed forces, simply for the cost of a few pounds.
"It would be really good if this memorial garden could be in place before the Staffords are withdrawn in 2014.
"The Staffords have been going for so many hundreds of years, so we should do this to honour our heroes. In one way it's good the memorial garden has been delayed until now, so that we will be able to tell the full story of the Staffords, from the beginning to the end.
"I think it could be a quiet spot where people think about those they have lost and we need a plaque incorporating some of the history.
"It is about time that we get these plans in place and it would be another first for Biddulph."
The full council will be asked to release the £2,000 so far raised for the memorial garden when it meets next Tuesday.
Plans for the memorial include a plaque and a bench.
Councillor Hilda Sheldon, chairman of Biddulph in Bloom, also hopes the project will move forward.
She said: "I think with the problems the Staffords are facing at the moment, it would be great if we can create a memorial for the regiment here in Biddulph. The announcement that the Staffords would be withdrawn has really put the plans into focus.
"We need to work with Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, which owns the site, as well as the Mercian Regiment, the Royal British Legion, and anyone else who wants to be involved in the project. We are determined to make this happen."
The Staffords are set to be withdrawn from the Army's Order of Battle in 2014, as part of plans to reduce the service to 82,000 soldiers.
More than 750 people have so far signed The Sentinel's online petition at www.saveoutstaffords.com, with thousands more names coming in from newsagents.
If your workplace or business would like some Save Our Staffords petitions to fill in please contact Mary-ann Astle at The Sentinel on 01782 602681.