The Project's primary aims and objectives can be summarised as follows:
- the rescue of war memorials at risk of loss or damage from closed or deserted buildings e.g. churches, factories, clubs or schools;
- the relocation of rescued memorials in a suitable new location in the original community;
- if relocation is not possible then for the memorials to be moved to a safe site for the purpose of repair, conservation, safe-keeping and display; and
- to encourage individuals, schools, community groups etc. to become involved in the Project’s work and to research, record and learn about the history behind the names on the memorials, the communities they came from and how to conserve memorials in their own communities.
Although we became established as a formal organisation in August 2012, the Project’s work goes back many years before this.
Our co-founders (Denis Kenyon and Chris Stephens) have been actively involved in the preservation of war memorials in the counties of Leicester and Rutland for some time. Both are long-standing regional volunteers for the War Memorials Trust which is an organisation dedicated to the protection and conservation of war memorials throughout the whole of the UK. Denis was also a volunteer for the UK National Inventory of War Memorials which is now part of the Imperial War Museum.
It was Denis and Chris’s involvement with the memorials at St. Saviour’s Church in Leicester which acted as the trigger for them to consider the setting up of an organisation with the capability of taking direct action to either preserve or rescue memorials that were at risk of being lost through theft or vandalism. St. Saviour’s Church in particular possessed three fine examples of stained glass window memorials together with many other items of remembrance.
Despite their best endeavours, the memorials could not be preserved intact and their fears were realised when the church was subsequently comprehensively vandalised and nearly all the memorials stolen. Fortunately, thanks to Denis and Chris’s foresight, all of the memorials had been permanently recorded on film which allowed the three windows to be faithfully reproduced in the form of light boxes (see right) which now take pride of place among our resident memorials.
Through Chris’s involvement with various churches it soon became clear that St. Saviours Church was not an isolated case and there was much work to be done with similarly affected memorials not only in churches and chapels but also in offices, schools and factories.
Throughout 2010 and 2011, Denis and Chris attended various events to promote the plight of many memorials and the work they intended to do in order to preserve them. This culminated in a presentation made in June 2011 (in conjunction with the Leicestershire War Memorials Project) at a gathering of many senior local authority officials and armed forces representatives.
Following the support voiced at that presentation it was clear that their work needed a formal structure, funding and a place to house the rescued or “orphaned” memorials as they came to be known.
Throughout 2012, the application process was commenced for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and through Chris’s contacts with the Churches Conservation Trust a location to house the orphaned memorials (some of which had already been recovered) was sourced at the sadly now defunct church at All Saints’ on Highcross in Leicester. In August 2012, the Project was formally incorporated at Companies House as a dedicated and distinct legal organisation.
During the same period, a committed team of volunteers was established to help promote the Project and assist with its operations. A patron (John Florance) was appointed and in April 2013 the Project’s application for funding from the HLF was successful.
Since that time, we have become a more established organisation and have steadily taken on new projects and become involved with some locally high-profile memorials such as those at St. Luke’s Chapel at the Leicester Royal Infirmary.
We have set up this web site to allow greater access to our work: we also have many open days throughout the year and attend various local history events to raise awareness of the work we do.
Non sibi sed posteris
There is a Latin inscription on one of the memorial tablets dedicated to those from Alderman Newton’s school who lost their lives in WW1 and WW2. The inscription reads “non sibi sed posteris”. This translates to “not for ourselves but for those who follow”. All of us here on the Project hope you will join us in adopting and embracing this motto for the future generations.
Interview with Denis Kenyon where he explains more about our project.
Here you can find more about the people who are connected with the Project. The Project is run entirely by volunteers – people who have a passion for heritage. People who are determined that those who gave their lives in their country’s service shall not have their memories desecrated but will be remembered for ever more. The war memorials bearing their names are safe with us.
In addition to those listed below, we are also assisted by several other people who give up their time and provide us with access to a whole host of resources and information in relation to the work that we do. As everyone works on a voluntary basis, those behind the Project are exceptionally grateful for their commitment in ensuring the Project meets its objectives.