Located a few miles from the Trent and Mersey Canal in Staffordshire is the UK’s National Memorial Arboretum. The Arboretum was officially opened on 16 May 2001, but has undergone a big regeneration project more recently that has led to it becoming an award winning visitor attraction.
I was lucky to be passing this part of the country on a bright autumn day in late afternoon when there were relatively few visitors there. To be visiting such an important memorial space on such a sparkly day was truly uplifting.
The central memorial structure is a tribute to the UK’s Armed Forces who have been killed while in service.
The architect Liam O’Connor was responsible for the design. He has a reputation for creating exceptional memorial designs. The very moving space is created from Portland Stone, and shows the names of all who have died since the end of World War 2. There is space on the wall for new names to be added, and the engraving is updated annually.
The design of the sculpture pictured, has been cleverly built, to allow the light to cast a shaft of sunlight through the open doorway at the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
I did not have time on this visit to explore the 150 acres of woodland and gardens, but I will be visiting this exceptional memorial space again. A listing of all of the memorials that are situated in these grounds is linked here.
It truly is a marvellous place – and as you say Sandy quite uplifting, making respectful
remembrance easy. I was there with my younger son David on Saturday 3 July. The International Submariners Association had organised a simple ceremony of remembrance at the Submariners Memorial including the Indonesian submarine victims earlier this year. It was the exact day 5 years earlier that my husband Ben had died. I had to be there because I have no physical memorial (our choice) as we had scattered his ashes at Portland. The memorials are small (a plaque on a donated/dedicated tree) through all sizes to the huge huge (the Armed Forces memorials). We spent over 4 hours touring the Arboretum and still did not see them all. This was my third visit and will not be my last.