New memorial garden to provide permanent Yarm 1914 project legacy

Release date: 20 June 2018

A five-year commemoration of the impact of World War One on a Teesside community is set to leave a permanent legacy thanks to a four-figure grant secured through the local branch of Newcastle Building Society.

As part of the Yarm 1914 project, a new memorial garden is to be created at Snaith's Field later this year which will be dedicated to the local soldiers who fought in the Great War.

The garden will include six memorial plaques, with five of them showing the names of the 120 local soldiers who gave their lives during each of the five years of the conflict and the sixth listing the 13 men who made it back to Yarm.

A metal fence made in the workshops at Kirklevington Prison will be placed around the garden, while two metal benches will also be installed along with a number of commemorative metal poppies.

The memorial garden is expected to have been completed by November this year, in time for the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.

A £3,000 project grant has been provided by the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation after it was put forward for support by Peter Monck, a customer at Newcastle Building Society's Yarm Library branch and one of the driving forces behind Yarm 1914.

The Fund which has been set up to provide grants to charities and community groups that are located in or around the communities served by the Society's branch network and put forward for support by its customers.

The Yarm 1914 commemoration has seen a wide range of events and activities taking place in and around the town, including  an exhibition at Willey Flats to begin proceedings in 2014, followed by a candlelight vigil at the War Memorial on 4th August 2014, to mark the centenary of the start of WW1, school visits, an exhibition in Yarm High Street and commemorations of the Battle of Passchendaele and the Somme.

The project will reach its conclusion with a community event at Preston Museum in June next year to mark the 100th anniversary of the actual signing of the Treaty of Versailles, which will include the recreation of the type of street party that was held a century ago to mark the occasion.

Peter Monck says: “Yarm 1914 began with a small group of people sitting round a blank sheet of paper five years ago and has gone on to become something that has touched pretty much every part of our community.

"The memorial park will be a quiet place that local people can spend time reflecting on what the town and its people went through during the Great War and will be a way of maintaining the greater levels of interest in local history that this project has helped to build.

"We've long wanted to create a permanent community legacy of the project and the financial support provided by Newcastle Building Society has saved us a great deal of time and effort in fundraising work that we'd otherwise have had to do to make it happen."

Since its launch in 2016, the Fund has contributed over £200,000 in grants to projects across the Society's North East and Cumbria heartland, and is so far estimated to have had a positive impact on more than 97,000 people.

The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund is run in association with the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. Grant applications for a maximum of £3,000 can be made in any Society branch or via the newcastle.co.uk website by customers who wish to support their local communities.

Helena Kalandra, manager at Newcastle Building Society's Yarm Library branch, adds: “Yarm 1914 has had a huge impact on the town and has created a far greater local understanding of what life was like here a century ago.

“Providing direct support to the communities in which we’re based is central to the way the Society works, and we're extremely pleased to be part of building a tangible local legacy for Yarm 1914."