About 100 people assembled at the East Court War Memorial at 4.40pm this afternoon to remember the tragic death of 108 East Grinstead residents who were killed when a bomb was dropped on the Whitehall Cinema in London Road in 1943.
Wreaths were laid by Philip Baker, the Chairman of East Grinstead War Memorial Ltd (right) and other dignitaries, and the short service included prayers and a period of silence for reflection.
“Phase 2” of the collaborative project between EGWML, MSDC and Ashplats Conservation Group to provide visitors with more information got into gear today. The first of 5 signs has been erected at the Lancaster Drive entrance on sturdy chestnut poles coppiced from the wood.
Not only will they provide a welcome, but it is expected that they will also give the wood more of an identity, enabling visitors to find out more about the wood it if they wish.
East Grinstead War Memorial Ltd has recently bought the freehold of the Northern part of Ashplats Wood between Hilary Close and Pegasus Way.
4th East Grinstead Scout Group were given the land several decades ago, but found themselves unable to manage it properly. The transaction was carried out for a nominal value and EGWML will in the first instance be assessing the land before developing a Management Plan for it.
Early actions are expected to involve renewing the entrance gate at Pegasus Way, addressing the issue of flytipping, and clearing paths from fallen trees.
Ashplats Wood, the Ancient Woodland that borders East Court close to the heart of East Grinstead, is perhaps one of the towns best kept secrets. However, a collaboration between East Grinstead War Memorial Ltd, Ashplats Conservation Group, and Mid Sussex District Council, has been working to remedy this, by installing new Information Boards around the Wood.
On Monday, Town Mayor, Liz Bennett cut a red ribbon on one of the new Boards to mark them as being “open for business”. The central feature of the Boards is a user-friendly map which will help newcomers navigate around the Wood and perhaps explore a bit further than they would otherwise do. Around the map, several storyboards and illustrations inform people what they can look out for when out for a walk and explain some of the history of this Wood which has been actively managed for at least 400 years.
Mayor Bennett said at the ceremony that she was delighted to mark this inauguration in such a way and hoped that both residents of, and visitors to, East Grinstead would take advantage of the information provided and enjoy the wonderful amenity that Ashplats Wood represented.
Schoolchildren helped to plant six trees at east Court to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year. Pupils from Estcots, St Peter’s, Blackwell, Halsford Park, Baldwins Hill and St Mary’s primary schools took part in the ceremony.
Each school planted one tree, with plaques featuring the school’s names attached to each tree.
The event was organised by Ashplats Conservation Group and financed by East Grinstead War Memorial Ltd