A VETERAN designer who created a memorial at Whitchurch to remember war heroes has said he is “absolutely proud of his work”.

Graham Burgess, 77, who designed the Arctic Seat at Bere Mill to remember the fallen soldiers, said the Whitchurch memorial is “something that could be installed nationally”.

“It’s absolutely amazing to be part of this project,” said Graham, who used to run half of Kew Gardens during the early part of his career.

“One of the key war heroes was a local man named Roy Dykes and as a focus on him we have created the Arctic Seat.

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“At the age of 25 he returned from the Arctic and within him a love of dogs based on the vital role played by Arctic Sled Dogs. It led to him getting involved nationally with Cruft’s Dog Shows and locally with Dog Days on The Millennium Green.

“So the Arctic Seat represents the special vessels and the one he sailed called Honeysuckle. The seat is shaped like a ship. You can sit on both sides, which represents a sharing community. You will be able to sit on either side in the same way the rowers in Egyptian punts did.

“Down the middle of the seat are the shape of melting icebergs. Visitors can attach dog tags to the memorial with their dog’s name in it.”

The memorial was opened to public in November by the mayors of Whitchurch and Basingstoke.

Around 3,000 men died in the Arctic during the World Ware 2.

Roy Dykes, who lived in Lynch Hill Park in Whitchurch and died in 2016 aged 96, had spent much of his later years campaigning for veterans of the Arctic Convoy Missions in the Royal Navy to be honoured with an Arctic Star medal for their bravery.

Their plight was backed by The Gazette, and in March 2013 the surviving veterans were finally presented with the medal they deserved by then Prime Minister David Cameron.

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Another key supporter of the Arctic Medal campaign and a great supporter of The Sea Cadets Nationally was Robin Allum, who passed away recently. His family have made a major contribution to the memorial.

The site where the seat is installed was offered by the family of Rupert and Elizabeth Nabarro.

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