National Memorial Arboretum scheme halfway to £8m target

Flt Lt Michelle Goodman DFC said the arboretum was "absolutely fantastic"

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A fundraising scheme to redevelop a Staffordshire memorial site is halfway towards its £8m target.

The National Memorial Arboretum has raised more than £4m for the project, which includes building a new entrance, visitor centre and education centre.

The site, which gets more than 300,000 visitors a year, commemorates fallen servicemen and women over the past 70 years and has more than 150 memorials.

The arboretum marked its 10th anniversary on Tuesday.

'Awe-inspiring'

Maj Patrick Cordingley, from the arboretum, said Staffordshire had been "extremely helpful" in terms of raising money.

He said: "Individual donations from people, small sums have come in, it's all mounting up nicely."

The first woman to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Flt Lt Michelle Goodman DFC, visited the site to mark the anniversary.

Flt Lt Goodman, who was at the arboretum for the first time, said it was "absolutely fantastic" and "very awe-inspiring".

She said: "Certainly there's a couple of names that have come from our squadron and people from being out in Iraq."

The arboretum officially opened on 16 May 2001.

Earlier this year, the names of 112 servicemen and women killed on duty or through terrorism in 2010 were added to a memorial.

An arboretum spokesman said the development would become "a focal point for the Royal British Legion to express the meaning and importance of remembrance".

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