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Search is on for war memorial site

PUBLISHED: 19:39 23 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:03 07 July 2010

Colin Gray and Adrian Welsh from Haymills take out the memorial stone.

Colin Gray and Adrian Welsh from Haymills take out the memorial stone.

A new era in the life of a first world war memorial was signalled as it was permanently removed from its cottage hospital home.

The stone, which pays tribute to the men of Thetford who died in the Great War between 1914 and 1918, was installed at the town's cottage hospital after public subscriptions paid for a new wing and x-ray department.

A new era in the life of a first world war memorial was signalled as it was permanently removed from its cottage hospital home.

The stone, which pays tribute to the men of Thetford who died in the Great War between 1914 and 1918, was installed at the town's cottage hospital after public subscriptions paid for a new wing and x-ray department.

The memorial is now set for a new home in Thetford after a joint project between NHS Norfolk, Breckland Council, and Thetford Town Council saved it from potential demolition.

The redundant Victorian cottage hospital, in Earls Street, is set to be sold to a private developer after becoming surplus to requirements by the new Thetford Community Healthy Living Centre last year.

Community and health leaders spoke of their joy after the future of the sandstone first world war memorial was secured. The stone, which is believed to be only the third of 56,000 listed memorials in the UK that mention the dedication of funds for x-ray apparatus, will be kept in storage until a new place can be found for its display.

Dr Robert Williams, from Grove Lane Surgery, Thetford, who campaigned for the memorial to be saved, said he would like to see it moved near the town's war memorial in the Market Place.

“I have been a GP here for 30 years and have known about the plaque for all that time and I was keen that it was not forgotten or lost. The hospital wing and x-ray apparatus was installed by public subscription and it [the stone] is a reminder of what people did in the past and should be in the town centre for the people of Thetford to see,” he said.

Jennifer Flippance, from the Imperial War Museum, added: “The Thetford memorial hospital wing and x-ray apparatus is significant not only because of its rarity. The stone also shows us that the local community wanted to remember their war dead by providing something of value to the living - in this case what would have been state of the art medical equipment.”

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