Good news is always refreshing and there is genuinely great progress to report in relation to my campaign in conjunction with the National Trust and the community of Wellington to restore the iconic Wellington Monument. I was delighted to have kick started the £4m restoration project by securing £1m from the Libor fund which was match funded by the Trust, subsequently leading to a community initiative that has helped raise the profile of the Monument, raise funds locally and engage a wide range of individuals, groups and schools including Court Fields and Beech Grove Additional grants have been attracted and I am also pleased that I have been able to work closely with the current Duke of Wellington himself (the great, great, great grandson of the first Duke) on issues relating to the restoration project including bringing His Grace to Wellington a number of times.
This week the Duke accepted my invitation to join the Town Council to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the first Duke of Wellington’s only recorded visit to the town from which he took his title. The actual date of the visit was thought to be 29th September 1819 and the erudite curator of the Wellington Museum gave an informative insight into the event as well as showcasing some fascinating artifacts relating to the Iron Duke held in the Museum.
We finished the event with a walk to the Monument (in the driving rain) to meet some of students from Court Field school and the enthusiastic Monument Ambassadors from Beech Grove school who have been involved in some innovative Wellington inspired activities (encouraged by Emma Jones, Monument community lead) including the Welly Walk and painting welly boots. Owing to positive progress the Monument will soon be clad in scaffolding with a giant crane moving in to remove the pointed top of the obelisk for mending.
Special thanks to all involved especially the Trust for recognising this as one of their top three national priorities. Onwards and upwards to raise the final £600,000 required. As I’ve said for the outset, this is much more than a Monument and we owe to the local community and indeed the whole nation to restore it.