TIDWORTH'S first public war memorial was officially unveiled last weekend.

Celebrations took place on Saturday to mark the occasion. There was music from the Royal Artillery Band and the Military Wives Choir.

Veteran Malcolm Connolly, who served in the 3rd Carabiniers, cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony.

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, which has been built on land at the town's community centre, is made of granite monoliths featuring engravings of the town’s history from the First World War up to modern day.

Guests, including Devizes MP Claire Perry and Wiltshire Council leader Allison Bucknell, relaid wreaths laid on Remembrance Sunday last year.

A prize giving was held at the unveiling for the children who helped come up with the winning designs that were 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 fundraising by the local community and grants.

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