GALLERY AND VIDEO: HRH The Duke of Kent opens Spalding WWII Memorial
His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent has today officially unveiled the new Spalding WWII Memorial.
The morning began with a dedication service, conducted by the Rev Aileen Workman, at St Mary and St Nicolas Church.
The service included a reading by South Holland District Council chairman, Coun Rodney Grocock, who also chaired the Spalding WWII Memorial Committee.
The Duke and guests then made their way to the Peace Garden at Ayscoughfee, where the Duke unveiled a plaque beside the new memorial.
The Duke told onlookers: "Firstly, may I say how pleased I am to be in Spalding and here at Ayscoughfee Hall Museum and Gardens to officially open this World War II Memorial.
"It is to the great credit of everyone involved with the memorial committee – and in particular chairman Grocock – that the town now has a dedicated memorial for those brave men and women who lost their lives during the Second World War.
"Great credit also has to be given to those veterans who have given up so much of their time to raise vital funds for this memorial, and who, through their passion and dedication, keep the spirit of their fallen comrades alive.
"Thanks too have to be given to the generous donations from local businesses – and also to the people who live in Spalding.
"I have no doubt, through the passion, drive and enthusiasm of everyone involved, that this new memorial will be a symbol of hope over fear, strength over tyranny and a peaceful place of remembrance for many generations to come."
In her dedication address, the Rev Aileen Workman said: "We remember with thanksgiving and sorrow those whose lives, in world wars and conflicts past and present, have been given and taken away."
The service included a reading by South Holland District Council chairman, Coun Grocock, who also chaired the Spalding WWII Memorial Committee.
The Duke of Kent (83), whose first name is Edward, is a first cousin to Her Majesty the Queen.
The Duke's extensive connections to remembrance made him the first choice when Spalding's WWII Committee were looking for someone to open the memorial, which was built thanks to fundraising and donations totalling £70,000.
At the memorial unveiling, Coun Grocock told the Duke: "The committee were delighted when we heard that you had decided to come to Spalding to attend the service of dedication and open the memorial.
"It is an honour for South Holland and an honour for Spalding."
Coun Grocock thanked the Duke for all of his work as president of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and The RAF Benevolent Fund.
He said: "Spalding is a very small but beautiful market town and your presence here today, royal highness, brings our town closer together and it is a day we will never forget."
Civic dignitaries, ex-service men and women, families who lost loved ones and some of the many people who contributed to the war memorial fundraising attended the service of dedication and the unveiling.