Masons have done us proud

PUBLISHED: 14:35 07 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:33 10 June 2010

Having now stood down as chairman of the 531st Tribute Fund, may I please, through your well read columns, pay tribute to the wonderful work of our Memorial Masons, Vince and Jo Orchard?

Having now stood down as chairman of the 531st Tribute Fund, may I please, through your well read columns, pay tribute to the wonderful work of our Memorial Masons, Vince and Jo Orchard?

Their latest work was for the recent memorial dedicated to the Devonshire Regiment, which was unveiled during our special visit by Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant of Devon in June and which was highly praised by Mr Eric Dancer on that occasion.

So popular have the memorials in Phear Park been that assistance has been afforded to the Topsham group planning their own tribute to 9/11 along our own lines. Approaches have been made by a very high-profile group from Slapton Sands with regard to designing a new memorial to the near 900 deaths from April 1944, when German 'E' boats attacked the US Navy in Lyme Bay, also along the lines of our Wall of Remembrance in Phear Park.

Just last month, a gentleman on the memorial planning group from Wednesbury in the West Midlands approached Mr Bernard Greenaway and myself with regard to the design of our name plaques on the Strand Gardens memorial, also with a view to a similar design for their new memorial.

A plaque identical to the one on our 9/11 memorial was presented to the US firemen who came to visit us in May 2005 and, because of its design, it is intended to incorporate it into the new memorial in New York.

I mention all this because of the magnificent work that Orchards have provided for us over the years and which very many locals and visitors have commented on to myself and local dignitaries. I, therefore, wanted to thank them publicly for all their support during my time as chairman. These fine masons are usually left off our thank you letters after an event and I sincerely hope this will help to make amends for that.

Thank you, Vince and Jo, for the everlasting tributes that you have provided for all who have gone before us. These memorials will remain when even we have passed on.

Lionel Howell,

531st Tribute Fund,

10 Cheshire Road, Exmouth

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