Ipswich: Race against time to erect merchant navy memorial in time for maritime festival

The Ipswich Branch of the Merchant Navy Association who are fundraising to erect a memorial to Seame

The Ipswich Branch of the Merchant Navy Association who are fundraising to erect a memorial to Seamen from Ipswich who died in WWI Geoff Hartgrove, Ruffy Ruffles, Brain Gray, Michael Illingworth, and Richard Watkinson - Credit: Archant

BOSSES at the town’s merchant navy association are facing a race against time to erect a statue in memory of the merchant seamen who died in two world wars.

The group has received interim planning permission to place a structure at Orwell Quay and they are determined to reveal it in time for the Maritime Ipswich festival.

But with just four months until the event, they now have to secure both full planning permission and funding before work can begin.

Captain Geoff Hartgrove, 72, the chairman of the association, said: “I am sure it will be OK.

“I am quite positive but it is just getting that bit of paperwork that says yes, go ahead.

“The timing is absolutely crucial as far as we are concerned because we want this up and running before Maritime Ipswich.”

The association’s bosses want to arrange a site visit with representatives of the borough council, county council and Associated British Ports, so they can outline their plans.

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They are also keen to have the memorial in place by the start of September for Merchant Navy Day.

Cpt Hartgrove, of Brantham, added: “That is very important for us as well because we have never really have a memorial to pay tribute to before.”

The cost of the structure has been estimated at £13,000 and funding has been secured from some organisations and individuals in Ipswich, but bosses are still trying to raise more funds.

If you would like to contribute, call Cpt Hartgrove on 01206 395256.