Memorial renovation starts ahead of Swaffham centenary events

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Work has begun to restore Swaffham’s war memorial in time to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War next year.

Contractors moved onto the site this week to repair and replace the brickwork and tiling around the monument in the Market Place.

And discussions have also been taking place in an effort to renew the town’s connections with RAF Marham.

The work is being carried out by Balfour Beatty and Travis Perkins, on behalf of the town council.

Town clerk Richard Bishop praised the support of the two firms as he gave an update on the project to Wednesday’s town council meeting.

Ahead of the meeting, he said: “We are extremely grateful to Balfour Beatty and Travis Perkins for their fantastic support on this project.

“This builds on the excellent work carried out recently by our ground staff to thoroughly clean the memorial, paint the railings and to repaint the names.

“We hope it will be fully restored now following this final boost to complete the project in time for 2018.”

Meanwhile, discussions have also been taking place between the town council, the Royal British Legion and RAF Marham about ways to mark the end of the First World War and renew Swaffham’s links to the base.

The meeting was told that a centenary commemoration event is being planned by the legion for June 2018, but any event for Marham is unlikely to take place until the following year.

Although the council did grant honorary citizenship status to the II AC squadron in 2010, it has since been relocated to Scotland.

Town clerk Richard Bishop said a meeting between the authority and the base had considered options including a similar award to one of the new squadrons of fighter planes that will be based at Marham over the next two years or to the base’s commander.

But members backed a proposal from Anne Thorp that the citizenship honour should be granted to the station as a whole.

They also supported a motion allowing Marham to hold a parade in the town, which is likely to take place in the autumn of 2019.