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Poignant service at rededication of Irvine War Memorial

Posted on 26 Jan 2018
Townhouse Irvine War memorial

The community of Irvine gathered today (Friday) to mark the rededication of the town’s war memorial.

Invited guests and members of the public joined Provost Ian Clarkson and members of the Irvine branch of the Royal British legion in a poignant ceremony which officially marked the return of the memorial close to its original position.

Following the end of the First World War, the memorial was funded through public conscription and was erected in 1921 outside Irvine’s Townhouse in High Street.

It remained in this spot until 1952 when the memorial was moved from the road to a spot adjacent to the Townhouse.

But the creation of the Portal leisure centre paved the way for the memorial to be moved back closer to its original location.

Provost Ian Clarkson said: “It is wonderful to see the war memorial looking so magnificent and back in almost the same spot as it was when first erected almost 100 years ago.

“We worked alongside our partners at the Royal British Legion and conservation architects to ensure the relocation of the memorial went safely.

“The restored memorial now looks fantastic right in front of the townhouse and is a fitting tribute to those it remembers and to whom we owe so much.”

Father Willie Boyd and Minister Ian Benzie carried out the rededication service which was attended by a large gathering.

In addition, to the rededication of the war memorial, two adjacent trees were also dedicated to the memory of victims of the Holocaust.

Following an educational visit to Auschwitz, two pupils from Irvine Royal Academy were inspired to take action to raise awareness of the Holocaust. Working alongside the Cultural Team at North Ayrshire Council the young people have prepared the dedication of the trees as a visual and lasting memorial for the Holocaust.

Fiona Brodie, Vice Chair of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, along with her husband Howard, led the dedication ceremony which included traditional Jewish prayers. They were joined by Susan Hodgins whose Mother, Dorrith Sim, came to Scotland in the late 1930s as refugee and whose parents were tragically killed in Auschwitz. Dorrith stayed in Scotland and settled in Ayrshire.

Wullie McMaster, of the Irvine branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “We are delighted to be involved in the rededication of the war memorial. It is a hugely important part of the town’s history.

“We are also honoured to see the dedication of trees either side of the memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.

“In the years to come, we hope that we will be joined by members of the Jewish community for our Remembrance Services, ensuring that both the fallen soldiers and Jewish people who lost their lives as a result of the Holocaust will be remembered and honoured.”