Shepley Residents asked for opinions on iconic War Memorial

Today, we're asking local people in Shepley. Would you support a new village organisation to take future care of Shepley's 100 year-old War Memorial? Maybe even get involved?

An independent organisation which brings together representatives from the different groups and organisations across the local community. One that also includes members from the armed forces and/or Royal British Legion? An organisation which is legal, properly-constituted, and has appropriate governance in place?

During the past few weeks we've received several emails from local people. They want to see the war memorial - one of the most iconic in the country - standing proud again. A commanding symbol to honour and respect all those who have died in armed conflicts. To once again look down on the village and serve as a reminder to us all about the horrors and futility of war. To also stand as a symbol of peace.

Sadly today, Shepley's War Memorial is hidden away from view amongst the trees. Quietly alone. As if, somehow, we've become embarrassed about our past and want to push our turbulent history back into some dark corner. To forget it.

But, original photographs from the time the war memorial was built reveal that our forbears had always intended the soldier, his head bowed to look down on the village. Many of us remember looking back at him in great awe when playing out as children at Shepley First School.

Line of sight

Villagers would like to see the line of sight opened up once again between the soldier and the village he represents. Taking advice from qualified conservationists and arborists to work out a new sustainable conservation plan for the woods whilst respecting what's already been done. To discuss and bring onside the organisations and people who are part of the decision-making process. To publish those decisions for the sake of transparency so that there is no room for doubt; so expectations are managed; and everyone plays an inclusive part in the journey.

Finally at night. To use subtle LED lighting to shine upon the soldier himself? In sharp contrast to the backdrop of those dark woods around him. A spectacular feast of light, and a wonderful feature to mark the 100th anniversary thereabouts of the end of World War I. Plus the construction of the war memorial itself.

Recently, villagers set up a cross-community committee to determine a permanent place for one of the bronze plaques stolen in the 1970s and recently recovered. We are hugely supportive of this committee and thank them for their efforts on behalf of the community. It's all great stuff.

What do you think?

What do you think about the ideas mentioned in this article? Do you agree? A project like this would need funding, of course. Plus a closer look into who owns the land and whether ownership could be transferred into a new organisation by community asset transfer.

Please email us editors@shepleyvillage.org. We will publish a mixture of your views and opinions without reference to your personal details.

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