We are pleased to report that the long-awaited NCCF project at the National Memorial Arboretum has recently been completed.

During the creation of the additional wings to the memorial, the plaques that were originally fitted to wooden benches in front of the memorial were mounted on the rear of the memorial. The possibility of adding new plaques to commemorate BNTVA veterans who had passed created the opportunity for the NCCF to fund the fitting of such dedications.

The new plaques have now been installed by our mason from Natural Cut Stone, who are based in Calverton in Nottinghamshire.

Members within the British Nuclear community were offered the ability to purchase a plaque that the NCCF would fund placing on the memorial. The NCCF coordinated the plaque production to ensure that they were all created to a standard design and material thickness.

The pandemic, unfortunately, closed the NMA for long periods of time and this prevented our mason from
fitting them.

Further problems arose following the first lockdown when the NMA announced that they were no longer allowing individual tributes to be placed on memorials and were pressing for people to purchase their own memorial plaques which are placed on stakes by the trees surrounding the memorial.

Following a lengthy period of negotiation, they agreed that because the original memorial extension plans included the facility for additional plaques they would honour the agreement and allow only the current set of plaques to be mounted.

BNTVA Memorial Stone rear view
The rear of BNTVA memorial showing the new plaques installed on the central stone
The rear right hand stone showing the plaque installed on behalf of the Royal Engineers, unveiled by Derek Hickman on the 3rd of October 2018. 

Once the approval for the plaques had cleared the NMA the NCCF approached the BNTVA for approval to mount them. The BNTVA are the owners of the memorial and their permission has to be gained for any alteration or addition. With a minor exception, the BNTVA approved the fitting of the plaques and we were finally in a position to instruct our mason to proceed.

Our stonemasons, Natural Cut Stone created the new central part of the memorial and at a later date added the 2 new wings. They were tasked with adding the plaques and liaising with the NMA to finalise all health and safety measures that have to be followed. This includes what vehicles and tools and materials that will be used during the installation. Any chemicals or materials used during the installation or cleaning the memorial need to be environmentally friendly and not pose any risk of damage to the porous stone of the memorial.  

By the end of August the plaques were installed onto the memorial. We then visited the NMA to record the event.

A formal dedication was made at the memorial by the BNTVA on October the 5th just after National Atomic Veterans Awareness Day (NAVAD).

As we mentioned earlier in the article, the NMA now has a policy of not allowing any more personal tributes to be fixed to memorials. The plaques that have been installed on BNTVA memorial will be the last ones due to the current policy. We apologise to anyone who may be affected by this outcome.