A NEW tribute to those who lost their lives in the First World War has taken up pride of place on a Durham village green.

The memorial bench has been installed in the city's Durham's Gilesgate as part of Durham County Council’s Find and Fix environmental programme, delivered with Gilesgate Residents’ Association.

Decorated with artwork depicting poppies and doves, the bench also bears the words Lest We Forget in honour of those who died.

It has been installed at The Duffy by a Find and Fix team in partnership with the residents’ association, and funded from the council neighbourhood budget of authority chairman Councillor Katie Corrigan through the Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP).

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The new Find and Fix teams are part of the council’s £31 million investment in frontline services agreed last year to enhance the services valued by residents and which are important in maintaining communities as nice places to live; in which people feel safe and protected.

In addition to the council’s normal green maintenance and street cleaning work, the project aims to fix cleanliness concerns spotted by the teams or raised by communities, such as graffiti, chewing gum, or clearing pathways, as soon as possible.

In Gilesgate, a Find and Fix Team has joined forces with the residents association’ for a project which is seeing action taken in The Dragon Park, Edge Court estate and The Duffy.

As well as the memorial, a second bench has been installed at The Duffy, while paths have been cleared and waste and overgrown vegetation removed from Edge Court.

The next stage of the project will focus on The Dragon Park, where the team will be clearing overgrown vegetation from around artworks in the park, by artist Graeme Hopper.

Floral planters are also to be installed in the Sunderland Road area, funded via the council’s It’s Your Neighbourhood grant scheme and, again, from Cllr Corrigan’s neighbourhood budget via Durham AAP. These will be planted and maintained by local residents.

Cllr Brian Stephens, the council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “Despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, our teams continue to be out delivering the services we know residents value and that includes the work done by our Find and Fix teams in ensuring communities are looking their best.

“We’re really pleased with the work that has been done and is ongoing at Gilesgate, with the memorial bench funded by Cllr Corrigan through Durham AAP a lovely addition to the village green and a fitting tribute to those who died in the First World War.

“We’d like to thank the residents association for joining with us on this project and we hope local people enjoy the results for years to come.”

Chair of Gilesgate Residents’ Association Richard Hornby said: “In times like the present, it’s important that local people have access to green open spaces and walking routes. The work has made the outside space in our area more accessible and attractive, and we hope this will help improve everyone’s mental health over the difficult winter months.”

Secretary Carole Lattin added: “We’re really grateful for the hard work that the Find and Fix Team has put in. The whole area now looks so much smarter, and reflects how much local people care about it.”

To find out more about Find and Fix, visit www.durham.gov.uk/findandfix