A lasting tribute to the hundreds of security force members killed in Co Armagh is to be erected in the grounds of a landmark church.
The ambitious memorial wall at St Mark’s Parish Church in Armagh city will cost upwards of £100,000 and is being funded entirely by public donations.
It will assure the families that their loved ones have not been forgotten
Made from locally quarried Armagh stone, the 90ft long memorial will be fitted with polished tablets bearing the names of around 350 men and women who either served or lived in the county when they were killed.
The Co Armagh Phoenix Group Ltd (CAPG) – made up of former members of the RUC GC Association, USC Association, police welfare associations from Armagh, Lurgan and Newry and Mourne, 2 UDR Association, Retired Prison Officers Fellowship, Armagh Association Voluntary Welfare Group and the Richhill Royal British Legion – has raised almost half of the money needed to complete the project.
The group hopes a range of new fund-raising initiatives will bring the plan to fruition – providing the only memorial bearing all of the names of those who died between the partition of Ireland and 2001.
A spokesman for CAPG said the wall’s construction would be in harmony with the existing, historic church building, and be a fitting tribute in a county that suffered more than most.
“Around one third of all police officers murdered during the Troubles, and almost a quarter of all military casualties, were in Co Armagh. Several prison officers were also murdered or injured in the county,” he said.
“Every penny donated will go towards building the wall and the work will begin just as soon as the target is reached. Everything is in place and ready to go.
“We are so grateful to everyone who has donated, or given up their time or expertise to get the project so near to completion. Everyone involved is a volunteer and there is no money wasted on administration or overheads.”
The spokesman added: “The memorial will assure the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for peace that their loved ones have not, and will not, be forgotten – and that includes those widows and families on mainland UK who might not have any other commemorative memorial.
“The wall at St Mark’s will be somewhere that people can come to remember and reflect.”
CAPG supports families through well-being initiatives, education opportunities, leisure activities and help with issues around poverty and disability.
Anyone wishing to support the project can do so through the CAPG website at www.armaghmemorial.org or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org