The Harrogate Advertiser is backing a £400,000 campaign to light up the town’s war memorial in a permanent and spectacular tribute to the fallen.
The Royal Hall Restoration Trust has joined forces with the newly-formed Harrogate and District Improvement Trust to run the project, and a public appeal will be launched in November to raise funds for the war memorial and the Royal Hall to be tastefully floodlit at night.
Russell Davidson, who chairs both trusts, said the timing of the appeal couldn’t be more appropriate.
He said: “This is a very important year as it marks the centenary of the end of the First World War; the centenary of women first getting the vote; the centenary of the death of Sir Hubert Parry, who conducted the Royal Hall’s opening concert in 1903; and the 10th anniversary of the restoration of the Royal Hall.
“What better way for Harrogate to mark these important dates than to light up these cherished landmarks? The Royal Hall Restoration Trust is limited to improving the Royal Hall so to achieve the proposals for the war memorial, the Harrogate and District Improvement Trust has been formed.”
Mr Davidson said months of planning have culminated in some stunning creative designs. He said: “A number of specialist professionals have given their time and expertise, including Chartered Landscape Architect and Urban Designer Peter Owens, winner of the Landscape Institute’s award for best large scale development, for the Royal Stoke University Hospital.
"Also working on the project are Stainton Lighting, whose past projects include Middlesbrough’s war memorial and the Durham Cathedral and Castle World Heritage Site.
“I think both companies have done a brilliant job. In regards to the war memorial, the simple illumination to make it look like a sword, coupled with the option of a red surround during poppy week, is restrained and moving.”
Mr Davidson said a full planning application for the project will be submitted in October, but a planning consultation is already under way.
The floodlighting appeal will be formally launched at the I Was Glad Parry Centenary Concert at the Royal Hall on November 15.
The project has already been given a financial boost by Harrogate Borough Council through support of a feasibility study.
The Chairman of Harrogate’s Royal British Legion branch, Michael Comerford, said: “I think it is a brilliant idea. I think people walking and driving through the town centre will see the memorial lit up and reflect on the importance of Remembrance throughout the year.”