First World War: Names of fallen soldiers hidden on unfinished Rainham memorial as millions mark centenary
17:55 04 August 2014
As millions of people marked the centenary of the First World War this week, the names of fallen soldiers enscribed on one memorial remained hidden by plastic wrapping and surrounded by scaffolding.
Residents were disgusted that Havering Council’s restoration of Rainham War Memorial was not finished for the commemoration – three months after the planned completion date.
The listed structure was one of five memorials to be restored thanks to an £86,000 grant from Veolia North Thames Trust last year – but the council says due to the stones and features being unqiue, it has had to be delayed.
Sean Connelly, of Farm Road, Rainham, is part of the Essex Commemoration Project, and has campaigned to add another 76 names to the memorial’s plaque.
He said: “I don’t know why it’s not finished, it’s disgraceful. It doesn’t surprise me. I pass it daily and hardly see anyone working on it. I had no qualms that it would still be covered in scaffolding [on Monday].”
Yvette Gray organised a “lights out” meeting at the memorial on the day, which was attended by 25 people, although no council representatives were present.
She said: “I think it’s disgusting those poor men gave their lives for us and we can’t even get it [the memorial] cleaned in time to remember them.”
Other residents have reported contractors began working on the structure last week.
Cllr Melvin Wallace, cabinet member for culture, said: “We’re doing everything we can to ensure the memorial is restored to the highest standard as quickly as possible, and we’re sorry for the delay and upset this has caused.
“We tried to ensure it was finished for this week, but unfortunately, this memorial has taken longer, as many of the stones and features are so unique. We’ve called upon a number of specialist craftsmen and brick makers to get it done as soon as we can.”