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WW2 pillbox becomes centrepiece of Aylsham’s memorial garden

PUBLISHED: 14:35 15 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:35 15 November 2017

Pictured cutting the ribbon are (l-r) Chris Webber (DWH graduate), Jason Colmer (sales director DWH), Stewart Blackburn (chairman of Veterans Norfolk) and Alison Page (sales manager). Picture:  Mike Sewell

Pictured cutting the ribbon are (l-r) Chris Webber (DWH graduate), Jason Colmer (sales director DWH), Stewart Blackburn (chairman of Veterans Norfolk) and Alison Page (sales manager). Picture: Mike Sewell

Archant

A housebuilder made a Second World War pillbox the centrepiece of a memorial garden at its new development in Aylsham.

The pillbox as centrepiece of memorial garden.  Picture:  Mike SewellThe pillbox as centrepiece of memorial garden. Picture: Mike Sewell

Pillboxes were built in the 1940s as a defence network for the Home Guard to use in the event of a German invasion.

While never used, they remain a concrete reminder of the sacrifices made by those fighting for their country in troubled times.

Stewart Blackburn, chairman of Veterans Norfolk, the umbrella group for the county’s service charities, officially cut the ribbon to the garden at David Wilson Homes Eastern Counties’ development at Bure Gardens.

He said: “As we approach the 100th anniversary of the First World War it is easy to overlook the very real fear people had of an invasion of England.

“Weybourne was identified as a probable invasion site and so the Bure Valley was seen as an effective defensive line; hence many of the old prefabricated pillboxes designed by Sir Ernest William Moir were positioned along their banks.

“This classic hexagon shaped pillbox is an extremely good example. Most of these structures have been destroyed long ago, and the discovery of this particular pillbox came as a complete surprise to the developers. I applaud them for their foresight in transforming an overgrown structure into a beautiful space for the whole community to enjoy.”

The housebuilder discovered the pillbox while it was clearing the ground and recognised the need to preserve it.

Sales director Jason Colmer said: “We are delighted that we could preserve the pillbox and create the memorial garden. We recognise that the pillbox represents an important period in British history which should be protected.

“As a responsible housebuilder it is important to us to create new communities alongside constructing new homes and we hope the garden serves as a memorial to those who lost their lives and can be used by new and existing residents of Aylsham as a space of reflection.”

Bure Meadows is a collection of three, four and five-bedroom homes.

Has a good use been made of the Second World War pillbox near your home? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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