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D-Day Fellowship launch memorial fundraising drive

By Kay Hallsworth

THE GOSPORT D-DAY FELLOWSHIP have asked for the support of generous local businesses and residents to ‘boost’ their newly launched fundraising drive, which is aiming to create a memorial on Stokes Bay to mark those personnel who made the journey to Normandy exactly eighty years ago.

This campaign was launched at the group’s annual Valentines Dinner Dance held on Friday evening and hopes to raise a total of £35,000 as soon as possible. This will help to ensure the memorial can be constructed before a scheduled unveiling on June 6, with planning permission recently approved from the council last month after a previous rejection in September 2023.

It marks a huge step forward for the D-Day Fellowship, who have been calling for a permanent memorial in Gosport over the last thirteen years. The town paid a crucial role in the preparations / embarkations for Operation Overlord with multiple local names written into the history books; including Ron Cross, Major Logan Scott-Bowden, and Sergeant Bruce Ogden.

The group is hoping that this new memorial will serve as a place of reflection and focus point for the community to remember the dedication / sacrifice shown in the events of World War Two. Remembrance Sunday and important anniversary occasions could also be held from the memorial, joining with the War Memorial Hospital and Falklands Garden in doing so.

Helyers of Hampshire have been enlisted to undertake construction of this memorial, which is due to be based near to ‘Mulberry Harbour Memorial Stone’ just alongside the Stokes Bay Sailing Club. Planning applications and 3D designs show that workers will re-sit the Canadian Memorial to the same location; before they then start installation of a new memorial stone and information boards.

These memorial stones will further be encircled by a half-moon shape of five specifically sized benches, which reflect the five beaches in Normandy and allows visitors to look over the Solent that saw thousands of departures. The whole arrangement will be encircled across the back by Red Robin bushes in a move that will provide a windbreak against gusts and reduce noise levels in the surrounding areas.

The D-Day Fellowship are however responsible for raising all of the required funds and have secured the support of multiple councillors including Cllr Zoe Huggins, as well as local businesses. Powder Monkey will be hosting a “Family Funday” later in the year to help this fundraising drive, whilst other community events are planned.

Readers are invited to make a financial donation via the Fellowship’s dedicated page using JustGiving, whilst more information on the group and its history can be explored here on Facebook. A wider brief of the memorial project is available in this downloadable file, whilst a selection of design images can be seen via this link.

PICTURED BY HELYERS OF HAMPSHIRE: Artist impression of the new D-Day memorial due to be constructed on Stokes Bay in time for 80th anniversary,