Military silver could be lost

TREASURED silver memorabilia from throughout Suffolk's military history could be lost unless a sponsor can be found to house it and insure it, The Evening Star can reveal today.

TREASURED silver memorabilia from throughout Suffolk's military history could be lost unless a sponsor can be found to house it and insure it, The Evening Star can reveal today.

The items, which include candelabras, cups, a salver, ash trays, cigar lighters and a cigarette box, could be lost forever because Ipswich Borough Council can no longer keep them in the town hall.

The silverware's trustees are now desperately searching for a suitable location and a person or body able to stump up the cash required to insure the 19 pieces.

Ken Taylor, from the board of trustees, said: “The silver belongs to the people of Ipswich.

“We can't give it away or sell it because it's covered under the charities commission.

“If we can't find a sponsor or different means of looking after it, the silver will have to leave the town.”

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The silver comes from the mess of the 161 East Anglian Field Ambulance Royal Army Medical Corps, which was held pride of place in the drill hall which was situated in Woodbridge Road, the building now home to the Caribbean Club.

The oldest piece dates back to 1905 and was presented by surgeon colonel GS Elliston, from the Harwich Garrison.

It was kept in Woodbridge Road from 1910 until 1967 when it was moved to the Millbank in London. Nine years later, the Territorial Army centre opened in Yarmouth Road and efforts were made to bring the silver home - a feat achieved in 1986.

In March 1997, the borough council agreed to keep the silver. However the agreement expires in 2006, leaving the historically and financially valuable items without a home.

Mr Taylor said: “With the restructuring of the town hall and financial cut backs, the borough found this was no longer possible.

“Because the silver is looked after by a board of trustees with no financial backing or premises, this now causes problems.

“If a new sponsor and home can not be found in Ipswich, the silver and its history and connections with Ipswich may well be lost forever - that's more than 100 years of military history.”

Should the silver remain in Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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