Tidworth's first public war memorial is being unveiled today (Saturday). 

Celebrations start from noon with the official unveiling taking place at 1pm. There will be music from the Royal Artillery Band and the Military Wives Choir.

The chairman of the Tidworth War Memorial Committee Daryl Stevenson said he was "relieved" the memorial has finally been completed.

"It is going to be a tremendous asset to the town and creates a focal point which we have been needing for many, many years," he said. "It looks absolutely fantastic."

The memorial is made of granite monoliths featuring engravings of the town’s history from the First World War up to modern day.

A competition was held to get children of all ages in the town to come up with designs to be engraved on the monoliths.

The war memorial, which has taken about two-and-a-half years to bring to fruition, cost in the region of £130,000.

Mr Stevenson said the war memorial project has helped to bring together the town's military and civilian community.

Town mayor and Wiltshire councillor Mark Connolly said: "For me this puts right a long standing wrong for a garrison town like Tidworth not to have a community war memorial. It is something the town council has wanted for many years but we were not able to build it ourselves.

"This would not be out of place in the Arboretum, it is a magnificent structure."

Persimmon donated £100,000 towards the project and there were contributions from Aspire Defence as well as the local community.

Paul Bedford, of Persimmon, said: "It came as quite a surprise to be told Tidworth did not have a war memorial. We are very pleased to have helped resolve this situation."

Allan Thomson, the CEO of Aspire Defence, said it was "fantastic" to see a monument in Tidworth recognising the town's military history and connections, adding: "We have a close affinity with the military and we felt it was appropriate to support this when we were approached by Daryl."

The memorial has been put together by Nick Johnson and his team at Young Johnson. He said: "It is an honour to do something for the town. It is not often you do a memorial like this."

The project was due to be completed in time to celebrate Armed Forces Day on June 24 but was delayed when a key part became stuck in India awaiting to be shipped over to the UK.

The memorial has been built on land at the town’s community centre in Wylye Road.