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'Memory of the fallen is safeguarded' by new arboretum facilities

The Duke of Cambridge met with veterans of all three armed services as he officially opened a new £15.7 million remembrance centre at the National Memorial Arboretum.

William also chatted with volunteers and schoolchildren as he was shown a "digital poppy field" which forms part of new educational exhibits at the 150-acre site.

The official opening follows a nine-year fundraising appeal to upgrade facilities for visitors to the arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire.

As well as unveiling a plaque marking the official opening of the new centre, William visited a police memorial to place a wreath paying tribute to Westminster attack hero Pc Keith Palmer.

The new centre, allowing increased visitor numbers to the site's 330 memorials, opened its doors last October after receiving a £2.85 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Writing in the programme for the event, William said: "The National Memorial Arboretum honours and remembers those men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of this country.

"This is a place for special memories, many of them sad, but hopefully, many of them happy too.

"We all have an important job to do in keeping these memories alive for future generations and this new remembrance centre will play a significant role in that duty."

William added: "Most importantly, the new learning centre will help ensure that future generations are engaged in learning about the contributions and sacrifices that have been made.

"They will ensure the memory of the fallen is safeguarded through the years."

Before William unveiled a commemorative plaque near the entrance to the centre, he was thanked for his fundraising efforts by Major General Patrick Cordingley, who chaired the appeal.

Commenting on William's backing for the appeal, Lt Col David Whimpenny, chairman of the National Memorial Arboretum board, said: "The duke has been involved in this project for many years and we thank him for his ongoing support and encouragement.

"It was particularly pleasing that some of our younger visitors were able to talk with the duke and explain what remembrance means to them."


From Belfast Telegraph