Wellington town council has pledged £10,000 towards the cost of restoring the Monument. Councillors heard the National Trust’s community fundraiser Emma Jones give a passionate account of how the campaign is going and decided unanimously that the time was right for the town to back the project with cash as well as words.
“Thank you so much. I want to cry,” said Emma, who has been running awareness projects at the Monument, at the motorway services and in the town throughout the summer. Families have travelled from as far away as London to picnic at the site and learn more about the memorial to the Duke of Wellington. One visitor produced £50 in cash just to be allowed inside the fence to touch the stonework.
NT project manager Helen Sharp told the meeting that as well as the £2m already in the kitty, Historic England has just decided to give £250,000 to the restoration fund and that an application is lodged with Highways England for a further £500,000 in grant aid.
However, community fundraising will play a key role if the £4m target for a full conservation repair is to be achieved. Emma has a series of initiatives planned for the autumn, including a Wear Wellies day in the town aimed at everyone from school children to business people.
“I’m going to be in the town with my Monument Stop every month or so and I’m starting to be recognised as ‘Monument Girl’, which is exciting,” said Emma. “I’m open to hearing any ideas which are a bit of fun and get everyone involved.”