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New plans to commemorate York's servicemen in Afghanistan
A STAINED glass window is set to be created at a York church in lasting tribute to the thousands of local men and women who have served in Afghanistan.
Organisers of the City of York Afghanistan Commemorative Appeal have decided to commission one of Britain’s top stained glass artists to install the window at All Saints Church in Pavement.
Helen Whitakker, creative director of Barley Studios in Dunnington, whose recent works include a window in the Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation, will begin work on the new York window in coming months.
The window will give recognition to all the city’s sons and daughters who have answered the call of duty in Afghanistan, and will include a memorial to the three York servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice: Marine David Hart, Trooper Ashley David Smith and Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton.
The possibility of a plaque somewhere in York, naming the three servicemen, is also being investigated. However, one more fundraising push is still needed to ensure there is sufficient money to pay for the work. The appeal total currently stands at £12,290.57, and we estimate an additional £5,000 will be needed.
Fundraising events organised since the appeal was launched in January 2011 include York’s Annual Community Carol Concert, collections at Cornlands Road News in Acomb - where Trooper Ashley Smith used to be a regular customer- a talent contest held at Fulfordgate WMC, a pop-up shop in the city centre, an assault course tackled by regulars at the Tiger Inn at Haxby and a sponsored 42-mile walk by Gavin Butler, a cousin of Marine Hart.
The appeal is supported by a raft of organisations, including the Army, the families of the three servicemen who died, City of York Council, York Minster Stoneyard, York Civic Trust and the Royal British Legion.
Trooper Smith’s mother Sandra said: “I think a stained glass window would be a fitting tribute to those who served over there.”
The vicar of All Saints, The Reverend Jane Nattrass, and the parochial church council, have agreed to the stained glass window being created in one of the church’s North Nave or South Nave windows which currently have clear glass.
The window plans have the blessing in principle of the York Diocese and the families of the three servicemen have agreed that it will be a fitting memorial to their sons. However, anyone who has made a donation to the appeal and is unhappy with the proposals may apply for a refund if they so wish, within the next three months.
* Anyone willing to organise a fundraising activity for the appeal should call Mike Laycock on 01904 567132 or email email@example.com.
* Anyone wanting to make a donation should send a cheque, payable to The City of York Afghanistan Commemorative Appeal, to: Mike Laycock, The Press, 76-86 Walmgate, York YO1 9YN, accompanied by their name, address and contact details.
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