400th Memorial Unveiled
The 400th memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum, for the Naafi, was unveiled this week. I have been working on the Naafi memorial at my workshop over the last few months and last week it was installed and and dedicated at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. I hadn’t been aware until a few days beforehand that it was to be the 400th memorial at the prestigious location.
The Naafi (Navy, Army and Airforce Institutes) for whom my own Grandmother served at Haggeston Castle during the 2nd World War, provided catering facilities for all of the armed forces, wherever they were in the world, for over 100 years. The memorial seeks to commemorate over 45o of its members who died in service, many of whom died during World War 2.
The 400th memorial stands over 2m high and is carved in Yorkshire Sandstone. The tapering shape perhaps suggests a plane wing or tail, the round hole may suggest a port hole on a ship while the green granite paving may allude to the army. The Naafi catered (quite literally) for all of the services. Installation took place under the guise of ITV cameras who were keen to capture the installation of the 400th memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum. The final part of the install was a circular piece of glass with the beautiful Naafi badge screen printed onto it. The memorial was dedicated in front of 200 people at the arboretum and is a proud monument to all those who served in this vital, often understated institution.
For me personally, it was a pound moment to have created the Naafi memorial, my Grandmother having served in the institution during World War 2. Needless to say, it was great honour to have designed and created the 400th Memorial at the NMA. This is the 8th sculptural memorial that I have created there, the first being the Bevin Boys memorial back in 2010. Others have included the Naval Service Memorial, the Scouts, the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, the Guinea Pig Club and the Soroptimists memorials.