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Preservation of war memorials 5 April 2013

CUSTODIANS of war memorials in the Isle of Man are being encouraged to think ahead to next year’s centenary of the start of World War One.

The head of the Government body set up to identify, record and preserve the Island’s war memorials says it is vital they remain a fitting tribute to the sacrifices made by armed forces personnel and civilians.

Home Affairs Minister Juan Watterson MHK, Chairman of the Preservation of War Memorials Committee, said:

‘The Isle of Man has a large number of war memorials of various types and each one recognises the outstanding bravery and sacrifice made on behalf of our community. 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One, so now is an appropriate time for custodians to ensure their war memorials are in good repair. This is an issue I am particularly passionate about. I work closely with the Armed Forces and believe we owe it to those commemorated to make sure no memorial is neglected or forgotten.’

The Isle of Man has approximately 150 war memorials, ranging from wall mounted plaques to large stone monuments, which are largely the responsibility of local commissioners or church authorities. The Preservation of War Memorials Committee was established by Tynwald in 2008 to oversee the proper identification, registration and maintenance of such memorials.

In conjunction with Manx National Heritage, the Committee has developed a database of memorials and graves, and monitors their physical condition to assess the need for any conservation work. While the Committee has no funding available to assist custodians, it works closely with the War Memorials Trust, a UK charity which operates a grant scheme that extends to the Isle of Man.

Mr Watterson said:

‘A lot of progress has been achieved since 2008 thanks to the outstanding voluntary contribution made by lay members of the Committee, along with support from MNH and other community organisations. We are not in a position to provide financial assistance towards the upkeep of war memorials, but I would point custodians towards the War Memorials Trust which may be able to help.’

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