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Cenotaph history

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The Project

The planning for this project has been a process of consultation and review and the designation of the various phases has changed over time to reflect current thinking.

Phase 1

As mentioned on the home page Remembrance Sunday always sees a very high attendance at Atherton Cenotaph, one of the highest in the Metropolitan Borough. In order to better accommodate the people attending it was decided to increase the lawned area behind the memorial. This work has now been completed.

The memorial and the name plaques were in need of cleaning and enough funding was raised to enable this to go ahead as well as to erect four flagpoles and that work has also been completed. See the photos page. The floodlighting has now been installed and the site is much improved in appearance.

Phase 2

In February 2004, Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council announced that land adjacent to the Cenotaph, which had been assigned for the use of the citizens of Atherton by Lord Lilford, would be made available for an extension to the Cenotaph site. A considerable area of land has been allocated for conversion into a memorial garden to honour citizens of the town who gave their lives in the two Great Wars and subsequent world-wide conflicts.

Plans were discussed, drawn up, refined and presented to local residents and other concerned parties. The group wanted the input of as many people as possible and meetings and presentations were held locally to provide any interested parties the opportunity to voice their ideas and opinions. A concensus was eventually arrived at and the group have been actively engaged in seeking funding for this part of the project.

Unfortunately a problem has arisen due to the discovery that there could be an old mine shaft somewhere on the site. Investigations to determine if there actually is a mine shaft and then to locate and cap it will need to be funded and completed before any work can be done on this phase.

As at October 30th 2008 no further progress can be reported.

Phase 3

The rearmost section of the land behind the cenotaph was for years used as a plant nursery to serve the parks and cemetary. This land has been cleared of the buildings and equipment since it had been left unused for some years.

Part of the plan is to utilise this section as a commumity garden that could again raise flowers and plants, this time for the memorial garden. It can be a place to bring together the community and also be a place where children from local schools could become involved and contribute their talents and enthusiasm while gaining an awareness of the historical significance of the cenotaph and what it stands for.

There may soon be movement on this third part of the project. The council have no funding to carry out work to determine the position of a possible mine shaft on the site of phase two. That being the case there is obviously no funding in place for works that were planned for the land following any successful resolution of the mine shaft problem.

Because of the lack of any sort of progress on this phase a group of local community representatives and volunteers have formed a new group. They have held their first meeting at which the development of this phase was discussed. They have set out an initial plan of action to develop a fund raising strategy and a means of communicating their intentions and ideas with all interested parties, particularly those who live in houses surrounding the site.

Last updated January 30th 2009