A hugely generous offer of a new site from the owners of the Burrough Court Estate, for the commemorative sculpture to The Tenth Battalion The Parachute Regiment, has been gratefully accepted by charity Friends of The Tenth (FOTT).
The site is situated on the Twyford Road and opposite Burrough Court. It is almost central to all the locations where the Battalion was billeted in 1944 prior to its departure for Arnhem. Of the 582 men that deployed only 36 returned two weeks later.
Friends of the Tenth, at their recent committee meeting, voted unanimously to accept the offer of the new location for the planned commemorative sculpture to the Battalion and to withdraw the current planning application on Somerby village green. The sculpture has been commissioned to commemorate East Leicestershire’s part in the hosting of the Battalion during the second world war. Sculptor, Graeme Mitcheson, is a renowned artist based in Leicestershire who has completed several works for the National Memorial Arboretum.
Alec Wilson, the charity chairman and a founding member of FOTT, said “The new location means that we can celebrate all of the communities involved with the 10th Battalion in 1944. It overlooks the dramatic valley where the paras dropped in training exercises. The site allows us to revert to our original impressive design with its sensational impact that had been significantly reduced due to the constraints of Somerby village green.”
Patron of the Friends of the Tenth, Major General Ranald Munro CBE TD VR said:
“Having embarked on a planning application to erect a memorial to the men of the 10th Battalion The Parachute Regiment on Somerby Green we have since received a very generous offer to erect our memorial on a site almost opposite Burrough Court just outside Somerby – a place of significance to the Battalion.”
“Having visited the proposed site I am very excited about the opportunity that the location provides. It will allow for greater freedoms in scale and design and afford a more appropriate spot for quiet thought and reflection. As a Patron of Friends of the Tenth I commend the new site to all our supporters.”
Dawn Wilson of the Burrough Court Estate said:
“We are delighted to be in a position to be able to help with providing a suitable site for this historic memorial, with Burrough Court having played a significant part in preparing the 10th Battalion the Parachute Regiment for their extreme bravery in the Battle of Arnhem in 1944.”
Melton Borough and Somerby ward councillor Leigh Higgins said:
“As a member of the Royal British Legion and Royal Air Force Association I naturally support such initiatives. However, as the Ward Councillor, and someone who loves the area, I think this is a fantastic location and will be a significant memorial to the Parachute Regiment’s eternal link with our villages. I also pay tribute to Fred and Dawn, who take great pride in the area, for their very generous offer.”
“The setting is absolutely superb where the visitor can not only reflect on the memorial but the grand vista of rolling countryside around it. This will be a “Jewel in the Crown” of the Somerby Ward and enhance the amenity for residents and visitors alike.”
Alec Wilson ended by saying “We will be submitting a new application to Melton Borough Council to locate the sculpture on the magnificent site given to us on Burrough Court Estate. Their generosity is greatly appreciated by all those who have worked on the project and those who have contributed so much money to making it happen. We will continue with all our aims, in particular the educational initiatives, and we will also maintain the connection between the Battalion and Somerby with the annual commemoration parade and church service. September 2019 will mark the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden and it is our intention to unveil the completed sculpture at the new location at that time.”