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War Memorial in national finals

By Staff Reporter

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Forres Memorial. Picture: Becky Saunderson. Image No.044495.
Forres Memorial. Picture: Becky Saunderson. Image No.044495.

FORRES’S war memorial has been named as the best kept in the north-east.

And the man responsible for its upkeep, Forres in Bloom (FIB) volunteer Barry Ashby, is looking forward to the site competing in the finals of the Legion Scotland’s Best Kept War Memorial competition at Edinburgh City Chambers on Friday, September 13.

The former Nimrod sensor operator and RAF simulator instructor said: “I have been looking after the war memorial area for about three years now – in conjunction with the council workers – and had been keen to give it a proper clean up for some time. I work on other areas too so it was a case of prioritising what to do and when.

“Previously I have swept and weeded as best I could but this year I decided I would get rid of the moss and lichen that covered the whole of the path and walls.

“It took over a week of afternoons and was fairly hard work but I was pleased with the result and of course well pleased for Forres Royal British Legion to get this award.”

Moray Council’s lands and parks section maintain the memorial, in partnership with FIB, cleaning the stonework, weeding the path and flowerbeds, cutting the surrounding grass and planting the hanging baskets, to create an area for people to reflect and remember.

Council convener Coun-cillor Shona Morrison, praised the efforts of all involved.

She said: “I thank everyone who has dedicated their time to making sure this memorial is maintained to the high level expected by our residents. It is a fitting tribute to those who have fought for our country and I’m pleased to see the hard work of our colleagues and volunteers has not gone unnoticed.”

Judging will take place during this month to determine the winners in categories: Champion of Champions; Large Community with Gardens; Small Community with Gardens; Memorials without Gardens; Satellite Memorials with Gardens; Satellite Memorials without Gardens; and New Entry.

Legion Scotland chief executive Dr Claire Armstrong said: “The Best Kept War Memorial competition fosters public awareness of war memorials, and encourages a high standard of continuing maintenance by local authorities. We congratulate the Forres branch of Legion Scotland, Moray Council and everyone who has played a part in the upkeep of the Forres war memorial.”

She added: “More than 100 entries have been received for this year’s competition and the standard has, once again, been especially high from across the north-east.

“The continued interest in the Best Kept War memorial competition and the countless hours dedicated to their upkeep underlines that remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country remains as important and relevant as ever. It is vital that we never forget.”

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