2 Two student friends who dis¬covered an overgrown war me¬morial at Bexwell, while out on a bike ride have since restored and cleaned the monument and the area around it. Ellen Hurst and Fraser Davidson were saddened to see the area around the Stone Cross, close to the A10 was neglected, overgrown and covered with litter and decided to investigate the possibility of restoring it. Their Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award required them to complete a volunteering section and this seemed the perfect solution with a very posi¬tive outcome. They sought advice from Downham Royal British Legion, Downham Town Council and the Ryston Estate, explain¬ing their plan was to clear the area, cut down overgrown trees and brambles, sort through broken materials, scrub and clean the stone and to repaint the lettering. During the six-month project they also replaced the path and standing area, repaired the bridge and finally achieved their ultimate aim of bring¬ing the memorial back to its former glory for people to see and appreciate. Downham Royal British Legion gave the students £100 towards the cost, part of which was raised at a coffee morning. Eraser's grandfather and experi¬enced builder Clive Joyner was also brought in to help with the stone work and when the project was concluded Father James Mather, chaplain of Downham RBL, led a rededication service for the Stone Cross War Memo¬rial. The Grade 11 listed memorial was privately erected in 1917 in honour of two friends, Lionel Pratt, of Rys¬ton, and Charles "Doox" Prangley from Bexwell, who died os-the same date a year apart during action in the First World War. Tucked away in an unmarked area, the memorial can be found just off the Downham bypass, opposite Arbuckles.
4 Renovation of Stone Cross War Memorial. Picture & Story Courtesy of Lynn News
6 While on a bike ride Ellen Hirst and Fraser Davidson discovered the War Memorial and were saddened to see how neglected it was, they decided that they would like to approach the task to restore the Memorial,
Their Duke of Edinburgh Silver award required them to complete a Volunteering section and by doing this it would be perfect.
Their plan was to clear the area, (collect old materials, pick up paving slabs) take up any old and broken materials.
Scrub and clean the stone, repaint the lettering on face of Memorial in black masonry out door paint. cut down any over grown trees and brambles.
Replace the path and standing area, Repair and fix the bridge.
Their aim was to make more people aware of the Memorial and restore it to it's former glory, which they have done
The Branch gave them £100, part of money raised from coffee morning held for that purpose.
On 7th November 2011, the Stone Cross War Memorial to 2 local men lost in first World war was rededicated by Father James Mather, local chaplain to the Downham and District RBL
The war memorial was erected in 1917 using an old "boundary stone" as its base, The lads came from Bexwell and Ryston parishes and the stone marks their junction with Downham Market.
In recent years this privately erected war memorial had become overgrown and neglected and the hidden away- difficult to access lying as it does in an unmarked area just off the bypass, opposite "Arbuckles the DIner"
Earlier this year th 2 youngsters spotted it on a cycle ride in a very delapitated state and were determined to clean it up. Encouraged by their parents and entering the project for a Duke of Edinburg award , the local RBL gave them the funds to acquire the tools and provide ground cover of bark and pavings., Today the site and memorial was in a clean and proud condition
Credit was paid to them by the Honary President Mr Ivan Sneezum who had unsuccessfully campaigned for several years to have the cross moved to a more visible site like Bexwell church yard, and by Mr Michael Pratt , nephew of one of the men, the chairman of the RBL Mr Horace Cross and finally by the Town Mayor Mrs Cllr Valerie Starling who gave them letters of recomendation to add to their portfolios for their award.
A good crowd turned out on a damp misty November afternoon to take part and witness the rededication .
8 Renovation of Stone Cross War Memorial. Picture & Story Courtesy of Lynn News
9 Renovation of Stone Cross War Memorial. Picture & Story Courtesy of Lynn News