Westville cenotaph project at halfway mark

John Brannen
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WESTVILLE – Retired Major Donald Creighton moved to Westville from Ontario when he was just 16. The town’s cenotaph was a focal point of Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Westville Fire Department deputy chief Tom Steele, left, Westville Mayor Roger MacKay, retired Major Donald Creighton, restoration project Chair Vincent Joyce, Royal Canadian Legion Branch #35 Poppy Chair Wayne Cameron and Branch #35 President George Lees were on hand for the presentation of $5,000 to the Westville Cenotaph Restoration Project. JOHN BRANNEN – THE NEWS

“My father was wounded in Passchendaele, a useless slaughter,” he said. “Remembering the past is important.”

It’s why Creighton, a veteran of both the Second World War and the Korean War, gave a private donation of $2,000 to the Westville Cenotaph Restoration Project.

Westville’s Royal Canadian Legion Branch #35 also donated $2,000 while the Westville Fire Department gave $1,000 to the restoration of the cenotaph on North Main Street.

According to Vincent Joyce, chair of the project, funding has reached the halfway mark of the approximately $38,000 needed.

“The restoration work and landscaping work should be completed well before Nov. 11 of this year,” said Joyce. “We’ll have three new walkways and the marble base will be cleaned as well.”

The cenotaph, completed in 1921 as a memorial to those from Westville lost in the First World War, features a bronze statue of a grief-stricken soldier created by renowned Canadian sculptor Emanuel Hahn. After the sculpture, the first of its kind in Canada, was unveiled, 10 other communities across Canada wanted the design.

Westville’s memorial, however, is the only one signed by Hahn and has been described as the finest community war memorial in Canada.

Legion president George Lees said restoration of the monument is long overdue.

“This is exactly the sort of thing we raise funds for,” said Lees. “We want the legacy of these men and women to live on.”

Joyce delivered 55 letters to various businesses, groups and organizations throughout Pictou County at the start of the restoration campaign.

“To date, only 12 letters have been answered so it’s a little disappointing,” he said. “But we are grateful for those who have donated so far.”

The committee, which consists of the Town of Westville, the Westville Legion and the Pictou County Military Heritage Museum, has received several private donations.

Foodland will be supporting the project through a bottle campaign, in which bottles will be placed their store for the public to make donation to the project during May and June.

So far, Sandy Jones Landscaping, A. J. Contracting and Heritage Monuments have been selected to carry out the work at the cenotaph.

“After emails with a cenotaph restoration expert in B.C., the bottom line is that there’s nothing wrong with the bronze statue and we’ll be leaving it alone.”

The restoration committee will host an All-Military Artifact Show and Sale at the Westville Municipal Building on June 14 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Military dealers from across the Maritimes will be on hand to sell, buy, trade, show or appraise any memorabilia.

Proceeds from admission and table bookings will support the restoration of the Westville cenotaph. For more information, call Vincent Joyce at 396-2194 or email vpjoyce@eastlink.ca.

 

john.brannen@hotmail.com   

On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn 

Organizations: Royal Canadian Legion Branch, Westville Fire Department, Pictou County Military Heritage Museum

Geographic location: Westville, Canada, North Main Street Pictou County

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