Prince Charles unveils sculptures at Staffordshire Memorial Arboretum

  • 13 July 2012
  • From the section England
The Prince of Wales at the National Memorial Arboretum
Image caption Prince Charles is colonel in chief of the regiment and royal patron of the intelligence agencies

The Prince of Wales has unveiled two monuments at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Hundreds of veterans attended the ceremony at the Alrewas site that was set up in 2001.

One memorial commemorates the work of the intelligence service GCHQ, while the second is dedicated to the soldiers of the Parachute Regiment.

Prince Charles is colonel in chief of the regiment and royal patron of the intelligence agencies.

Combining two bronze sculptures, it features a paratrooper standing alongside the winged horse Pegasus, ridden by Greek mythological hero Bellerophon, the official symbol of the Parachute Regiment.

'No bigger sacrifice'

They have been designed by ex paratrooper Mark Jackson, from Bristol, and Wiltshire's Charlie Langton, who specialises in painting and sculpting horses.

The Bedworth Parachute Veterans Association has raised £10,000 towards the memorial, with many of its former soldiers attending the ceremony.

Ahead of the ceremony, Bob Hodgkins, secretary of the Bedworth branch of the Parachute Regimental Association said that they had been waiting a while for their own monument and that the day will be "nice, but emotional".

Image caption The arboretum marks the sacrifices made by the country's armed and civil services

He said: "It is very important to have memorials like this. We should not forget, the guys and girls who lay down their lives for this country, there's no bigger sacrifice."

Cheltenham-based GCHQ, originally set up in 1919 as the Government Code and Cypher School, has been commemorated by a globe-shaped stone sculpture.

It has been designed to complement a memorial at Bletchley Park, GCHQ's World War II home, dedicated by the Queen last year.

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