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Funding appeal for Caribbean military monument

By James Vukmirovic | Staffordshire | News | Published:

A charity is working to raise funds for a permanent monument to Caribbean military personnel.

Donald Campbell served the Royal Air Force for 36 years

The National Caribbean Monument charity was formed after a number of service personnel visited the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire last year and found no permanent monument to the Caribbean servicemen and women who serve the armed forces.

After setting up the charity, the committee approached the arboretum and negotiated to set up a plot at the memorial site for the monument to be erected and a design for the statue to be submitted.

Donald Campbell is the chairman of the charity, having served in the Royal Air Force as an Aircraft Engineer and retiring as a Warrant Officer after 36 years of service, with the last seven years at RAF Cosford near Wolverhampton.

The 63-year-old, who lives in Tipton, described how the committee approached Martin Jennings, a world-renowned sculptor who also created the Mary Seacole statue in London, to design the statue.

The standard of the charity shows the countries represented

He said: “With what Martin did with the Mary Seacole statue, we thought it would be a good idea to approach him because of what he did and the symbolism of it, so he did a design for us in seniority order, with the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and a female representation of all the services.

“The idea is for the statue to have the symbolism of the Caribbean scene and for it to be 4.6 metres long and three metres high.”

The charity is currently looking for help with funding, with the final monument set to cost approximately £500,000 and a 10 per cent scale version of the design commissioned by the end of October costing £15,000.

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Fundraising events such as charity walks and parachute jumps have taken place, while the charity have also looked at funding from banks and funding organisations plus, as Donald explains, help from the general public.

He said: “We do a lot of presentations all over the country and what we’re trying to do is network because we’ve got a whole diaspora of Caribbean people, but we don’t restrict it to just Caribbean people, but people in general as we know that a lot of people can be very generous in the UK and are willing to donate to a good cause.”

The charity has been given a deadline of 2021 to get the monument created and installed at the arboretum.

For Donald, he would like the monument to be an historical point of learning and a legacy for youngsters to learn about the people from 18 Caribbean countries who served the United Kingdom in both world wars and continue to serve the country today.

He said: “I would like this monument to be a focal point where a lot of our youngsters can look, see and appreciate that their fore-parents have fought and died for this country and make them realise that a part of this land is theirs.”

To find out more about the charity and to donate, go to thenational caribbeanmonument.org/index.php

James Vukmirovic

By James Vukmirovic
Community Reporter - @jamesvukmirovic

Community Reporter at the Express & Star, helping under-represented communities to find a voice in Wolverhampton. Contact me at james.vukmirovic@expressandstar.co.uk.

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