West Leeds: Campaign for town war memorial gathers pace

Rifleman Sheldon Steel.
Rifleman Sheldon Steel.
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Campaigners young and old have united to officially launch a new fundraising campaign to get a war memorial in Bramley.

The west Leeds town is thought to have around 300 fallen military heroes.

The latest was 20-year old soldier Sheldon Steel, who was killed in Afghanistan while on foot patrol in Helmand province last November.

Charlotte Walker, 21, who is secretary of the newly formed Friends of Bramley War Memorial, said: “Everywhere else has a war memorial.

“I just think that if people are dying [in military action] we need to remember them. We think of people involved in war as being ‘old’ but it’s ongoing”.

Bryony King, 25, also from Bramley, added: “I think everyone should be involved. Lots of people from Bramley have been in the military, or have relatives who were. My grandmother was in the WAFs and my grandad was in the air force.”

It is estimated the memorial - the design of which is yet to be finalised - could cost around £100,000.

Bramley Labour councillor Ted Hanley, who is also on the fundraising committee, said it was hoped that businesses would get involved in helping to fund the campaign.

Staff at Leeds Building Society in Armley have already held their own collection, contributing hundreds of pounds, and further fundraisers are planned.

Bids may also be made for Section 106 money, developers’ contributions to communities that they build in.

Discussions are ongoing about the site of the memorial, however Bramley Park is the current favourite. Renowned civic architect John Thorp has agreed to act as a consultant for the construction of the monument, and has already drawn up some initial design ideas.

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves said: “I am really pleased with the work the Bramley War Memorial group are doing. People I have spoken to are really keen and believe the servicemen and women from the area should be honoured, as they are in other local towns like Kirkstall, Pudsey and Farsley, who all have memorials.”

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