Heroes Orchard in Grantham will become a reality after fund-raising target is hit
Army veterans who fought at Arnhem in the Second World War have inspired a flurry of pledges to help a funding appeal for a Heroes Orchard in Grantham reach its target.
Major contributions have been promised in support of wartime heroes who trained locally and flew from Barkston Heath on the Arnhem mission in September 1944.
The £12,130 target for the orchard has been hit, but appeal organisers the Wyndham Park Forum will continue crowdfunding until February 8. Extra money will allow the project near Wyndham Park to expand and include additional features.
Pledges include £626 from John Chatfeild Roberts, whose father Captain Graham Roberts was ADC to 1st Airborne Division commander Major General Roy Urquhart at Arnhem and with him on the infamous night-time Rhine River crossing as British forces were forced back.
1st Airborne Division Signals driver Larry ‘Lol’ Martin, who clung to the side of a boat on the river crossing as he was unable to swim, made his annual visit to the Arnhem commemorations in Caythorpe in September with his family.
His proud daughter Sue pledged a contribution and added this comment to the appeal website: “Dad was at Caythorpe prior to flying over to Arnhem and goes to the commemoration every year. An orchard is a great idea as it is something that keeps giving and will provide also a place for reflection.
“It’s so moving that people are still remembering what our boys (and girls) gave. We are proud to support this worthy cause.”
For businessman Tim Gale, a meeting with another Signals campaign veteran at Arnhem in September was the prompt to donate. He added a personal message saying: "I am happy to support your orchard and the wonderful way in which it will recognise the region’s role in the heroic exploits of the British 1st Airborne Division and others.
“I would like to dedicate this donation to John Jeffries, Royal Corps of Signals, 4th Parachute Brigade, who was wounded on the September 18, 1944, at Arnhem. I had the great pleasure of meeting John at the 75th Commemoration of the Battle of Arnhem, and if ever there was a man who deserved celebrating, John is that man!"
For SKDC, whose CrowdfundSK panel approved a contribution of £5,615, Coun Robert Reid, cabinet member for communities and wellbeing, welcomed the news that the orchard will become a reality. He said: “This has been an exciting project from the word go, and one which has really gripped the public imagination. It will be a valuable addition to Grantham’s publicly accessible green space, at the same time honouring the town’s military heritage.
“To see the scale and variety of pledges shows that this has resonated with not only local people, but also the military community to whom we owe so much.”
John Knowles, chairman of Wyndham Park Forum, thanked everyone who has pledged money to the appeal. He said: “The support is amazing. We have had everything from a £2 donation to a Christmas present pledge, a £1,000 anonymous donation and now all this terrific military support.
“We are continuing to fund-raise so please keep giving, and we can make the project even more special.”
To make a donation go to www.spacehive.com/heroes-commemorative-orchard