Memorial restoration gets boost

[attach]1782[/attach]Beach resident Arnie Williamson wonders what families of Canadian soldiers think when they see the sorry condition of the Malvern CI war memorial.

“It’s a monument to members of the community who gave their lives to this country,” he said. “What kind of message does that send to the guys actually on the sharp end?”

Sculpted by artist Emanuel Hahn, the statue honours 25 students from the school who died fighting in World War 1. The statue is missing an arm and a sword. Its base is deteriorating and the lettering is falling off.

Williamson began pushing for restoration in 2004 after his father, who is a Second World War veteran, saw the statue.

“He was visibly upset when he saw it,” Williamson said.

According to local school trustee Sheila Cary-Meagher, a lack of funds has prevented the restoration from happening — until now.

The community has been raising money for some time, but plans for a restoration got a boost when PACE Credit Union donated $10,000 in June.

The federal government is promising to match every dollar raised up to $25,000, the community already raised about $3,000.
School board chair Bruce Davis has been instrumental in securing some funds for the war memorial, said Cary-Meagher. The matter is dear to his heart because Davis has a military family.

“The chair of the board got involved in it and he had that special kind of impatience that goes with being chair,” she said.

The rest of the money will be raised through school alumni and the local community, who have been responsive to the efforts, Cary-Meagher said.

“Anybody who went to school there remembers the statue,” she said. “It’s a little bit of nostalgia, a little bit of pride, a little bit of citizenship.”

The memorial is expected to be restored in time for Remembrance Day 2011.