Lantzville Legion launches campaign for cenotaph cash

NANAIMO – Lantzville Legion fundraising to build permanent Cenotaph in Huddlestone Park.

Legionnaires in Lantzville have mobilized to create a permanent position to remember the region’s war dead.

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 257 is looking for donations to help raise $150,000 to build a permanent cenotaph in Huddlestone Park at the corner of Lantzville and Huddlestone roads.

The Lantzville branch has a small cairn at its location on Lantzville School Road, but it is a Legion marker, not a true cenotaph, and being situated on private property makes it vulnerable to potential future development.

The design for the new cenotaph has been approved and the land in the park has been donated by the District of Lantzville.

Part of the design includes the Veterans Path of Remembrance, a permanent 37-metre walkway lined with commemorative granite stones engraved with the names of men and women who have served or are currently serving in Canada’s military.

The path will provide access from the edge of the park to the cenotaph for people with mobility issues.

The stones will honour those on active duty, deceased, or missing in action and can be engraved with the name, rank and service branch of family members, friends or loved ones who are eligible.

The cost to purchase and engraved stone is about $300 to help raise money for the cenotaph project.

“What better way to commemorate Canada’s veterans and preserve the memory of a loved one who has served our country?” asked Jim McEwan, fundraising committee chairman.

People are encouraged to e-mail photos and short biographies of honourees, which will be published in the Military Service Recognition Book produced annually by the B.C./Yukon Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, which is distributed to schools, libraries and published online.

Construction can’t start until all the funding to complete the project is in place, but McEwan hopes to be able to start construction in May for a possible dedication ceremony June 6, which will be the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

“Also 2014 will be the centennial of the beginning of the First World War,” McEwan said.

People can pick up donation forms and purchase Commemorative stones for the Veterans Path of Remembrance at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 257, 7225 Lantzville Rd., or by calling the branch at 250-390-2108, 250-390-2841 or call McEwan at 250-751-2775.