Edinburgh hosts war memorial celebration

The City Chambers has played host to Legion Scotland's 'Best Kept in Scotland' awards for war memorials.

After almost 100 war memorials battled it out across several categories, seven proud winners received their prizes at a special ceremony hosted by the Lord Provost.

The competition, which this year received 99 entries, serves to foster public awareness of war memorials, and to encourage a high standard of continuing maintenance by local authorities. Legion Scotland aims to promote this through its Areas and Branches by working closer with local people to encourage memorial garden maintenance.

This year, Carnoustie was named the winner of the ‘Champion of Champions’ category. The other winners included: HMP Glenochil in the ‘Satellite Memorial Without Gardens’ category; Forres in the ‘Large Community with Gardens’ category; Carmyllie of Greystone in the ‘Satellite Memorial with Gardens’ category; Lossiemouth in the ‘Memorial without Gardens’ category; Ballater in the ‘Small Community with Gardens’ category; and Dingwall in the ‘New Entry’ category.

Legion Scotland Chief Executive Dr Claire Armstrong said: “We congratulate all of today’s winners as well as all of the other war memorials that entered this year’s competition. The standard we have seen in 2019 has been nothing short of outstanding. The continued interest in the Best Kept War Memorial competition and the countless hours dedicated to their upkeep underlines that remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country remains as important and relevant as ever.

“The competition creates a huge number of benefits for local communities, including team spirit, camaraderie and addressing social isolation – an issue which can be especially prevalent among veterans. It also raises awareness among the younger generation of the sacrifices made by their local forebears and the continued relevance of remembrance today.”

Veterans Minister Graeme Dey said: “War memorials are places of remembrance; a lasting tribute to our fallen Servicemen and Servicewomen who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defending our freedoms. Indeed, every war memorial in Scotland stands as a constant reminder of how much we all owe our veterans and their families, past and present.

“It is fitting that Carnoustie has been recognised in the Best Kept War Memorial competition this year. Living in the town as I do, I know the pride that the community takes in the history of service associated with the area. And the winning of these categories is entirely deserved for a memorial that is a great credit to everyone involved in its maintenance.”

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Frank Ross, added: “As Edinburgh’s Armed Forces and Veterans Champion I am proud to host this year’s Best Kept War Memorial presentations in the City Chambers. Home to the national war memorial, Edinburgh has a strong interest in the importance of remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice in serving our country. And, in cities and town centres all over the country, war memorials play such a prominent role in encouraging and helping citizens to pay their respects. These awards are an opportunity for those local communities who work hard to maintain their memorials to be recognised and I’d like to pass my congratulations to each and every one of the winners.”

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