About 100 people gathered on The Sands in Long Clawson on Saturday to dedicate and unveil a new war memorial.
Long Clawson has never had a war memorial before, although rolls of honour and wall plaques exist in the Methodist Church and St Remigius’s Parish Church.
The memorial honours all those from the village who have given their lives in times of war and conflict as well as all those who have given service in the cause of freedom.
The three feet grey granite memorial will also serve as a focal point, each November, for the well-attended outdoor Remembrance Sunday Service held on The Sands, which is arranged by Clawson Christians Together – an informal grouping of local Christians set up to serve the village, drawing together members and friends of each of the three churches in the village.
The inscription reads: ‘In perpetual remembrance of those of this village who have given service in time of conflict in the cause of freedom and in honour of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.’ On the back it reads simply: ‘Lest we forget.’
Pastor Eric Moxham, life-long villager and Baptist Minister of Long Clawson Baptist Church since 1977, was instrumental in bringing the project to fruition. He led the act of thanksgiving and dedication along with Deacon Dawn Canham, of the Methodist Church, and local Anglican Minister Canon Judith Wells, chaplain to the local Royal British Legion (RBL) branch.
Members of the Hose and Harby branch of the RBL (the Long Clawson branch disbanded years ago) paraded at the event and parade marshal and Long Clawson resident Peter Hackett gave the homage.
Poppy wreaths were laid by Mr Hackett on behalf of the RBL and Mr John Doubleday on behalf of the village. Those gathered sang ‘Abide with Me’ and ‘The National Anthem’ and there were prayers of thanksgiving and dedication.
Mrs Valerie Leverett, the stone mason who designed and created the memorial, was thanked for her efforts and given a bouquet of flowers.
Mrs Jean Cooke-Smith, lifelong village resident, gave a heartfelt vote of thanks to Pastor Moxham for all his efforts. Thanks were also given for the support of the parish council, Long Clawson Dairy, Long Clawson School, the three churches and the WI and all the other businesses and individuals who gave donations towards the memorial.
The whole cost (nearly £6,000) was raised from free-will donations from project supporters since the start of the year. Deli on the Sands provided refreshments after the dedication service.
Pastor Moxham said: “This memorial will be a testimony to future generations of what the people of this village have done and suffered in the past. It’s a call for all time to the people of Long Clawson to honour and follow in the steps of those whose loyalty and service we owe so much.
“It’s been humbling to be a small part of such an important thing we’ve done in their memory. Although we’ll never truly know how much it cost the past generations to preserve our freedom, let us salute them all.”