The sister of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, will be attending the opening of a new memorial for road crash victims in Lincolnshire.
Lady Sarah McCorquodale, a former High Sheriff of Lincolnshire who lives near Grantham, is to cut the ribbon for the £45,000 Lincolnshire Road Victims Memorial at Westgate Woods in Wyberton on Saturday, April 21.
The opening will mark the end of a two-year project to create a permanent site where people can remember those killed and seriously injured in road accidents across the county.
Anne Bourne, who lost her daughter and niece after a crash in May 2004, has been the inspiration behind the project after organising a series of fundraising events in Spalding, Weston, Skegness and Boston where she is from.
Speaking about inviting Lady Sarah to open the memorial, Anne said: “I just felt that we wanted someone who would have a bit of empathy with what we’re doing.
“So our committee approached Lady Sarah and I was delighted when she replied to say that she would be ‘delighted’ to do it.
“Losing a loved one is something that never goes away and until you’ve been there, it’s something that nobody can appreciate.”
Donations and money raised towards the memorial have been kept in a fund named after Anne’s daughter, Louise Nuttell (35), of Swineshead, and niece Sarah-Louise Wilkinson (36), of Boston, who were among four fatalities in a crash on the A52 near Skegness.
Anne’s other daughter, Amanda Meeds (54), also of Boston, survived the crash and when the memorial project was launched in May 2016, she described it as a place where people could “come, sit, and reflect”.
Anne said: “We’re going to have a short service at Boston Stump on April 21, led by the Bishop of Grantham, and I’m looking for a choir who can sing for us on the day.
I just felt that we wanted someone who would have a bit of empathy with what we’re doing, so our committee approached Lady Sarah and I was delighted when she replied to say that she would be ‘delighted’ to do itAnne Bourne, Lincolnshire Road Victims Memorial Committee
“I want the service to be short and sweet, but I don’t want it to be a sad day.
“Some of the people who will be there are those who have supported us throughout the project but before it, I’m having a tombola at Baytree Garden Centre, Weston, on Easter Monday, April 2.”
Boston Woods Trust, which owns and manages Westgate Woods, has made the area available for the memorial which has Boston Stump as its backdrop, with support for the campaign from Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership and Churches Together In All Lincolnshire.
The memorial itself will be a wooden shelter made from oak, a pathway lines with wildflowers, daffodils and bluebells, lime tress and a memorial stone sculpted by Gainsborough sculptor James Sutton.
Pastor Neil Mugglestone, of New Life Community Church, Kirton, and a member of the Lincolnshire Road Victims Memorial Committee, said: “An awful lot of hard work has gone into creating the site and the whole intention is that it will be there as a lasting memorial for generations to come.
“We certainly hope that the opening day will be something special, but it will also be an emotional time for people who will be remembering their loved ones.
“It’s been a long, hard haul to get the site ready and so we certainly hope that the opening day will be something special.”
Boston Woods Trust successfully applied for a £10,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant to help pay for the cost of the memorial path, with Anne and other fundraisers adding their contribution to it as well.
Anne said: “It has been a long, hard slog and I couldn’t have done it without all the support I’ve had from members of the committee.
“We’ve been bowled over by the generosity received from those who have made donations and supported the fundraising events and we‘re all very grateful.”
You can still make a donation to the Louise and Sarah Memorial Fund at Lloyds Bank using sort code 30-91-04 and account number 01303486.
Anyone who can help Anne by providing a PA system for the unveiling and camping stoves for hot refreshments should call her on 01205 367892.