Unveiling of Rose for Armistice Day

An artists impression of how the MK Rose will look on completion
An artists impression of how the MK Rose will look on completion

THE first column of a new monument is to be unveiled in time for Armistice Day.

The 11/11 column, part of The Rose project– a joint venture between Milton Keynes Parks Trust and new charity the Cenotaph Trust, will officially open at 11am on November 11.

It will ultimately be one of 140 columns that make up The Rose, a memorial which can be used to celebrate and commemorate events in history, as well as providing an area for people’s personal reflections.

Plans for the monument were unveiled at a special ceremony on Friday.

The Rose will take pride of place near the cricket pavilion in Campbell Park and is due to be completed next year.

It was designed by architect Gordon Young, whose other projects include Blackpool’s Comedy Carpet.

Each of the 140 columns will be dedicated to a different event, with Armistice Day the only one to be decided to date.

Suggestions for the other columns vary from a memorial for Princess Diana or the 9/11 victims, to celebrations of the moon landing or President Obama’s inauguration.

The £1.2million project, which backers say will be funded by commercial and personal donations and section 106 developer money, will go to public consultation to decide the exact nature of each column.

The man behind the project, Gavin Anderson, said: “There are moments in time that affect us all collectively.

“For me it was always Armistice Day. I remember the entire street stopping, cars stopping, people stopping.

“That was one of the things that was fed into this project.

“The challenge was creating something that encapsulated everything from totally personal memories to collective ones.”

And fellow Cenotaph Trust member, John Moffoot, added: “You don’t get the chance to be part of the development of a city very often, but that’s what this is, an amazing adventure.”

But not everyone at the presentation supported the scheme.

Milton Keynes Council’s ward member for Campbell Park, Councillor Isabella Fraser, said The Rose was a betrayal of the original war memorial plan that was presented to her.

She said: “I don’t like the design. I think it is pretty awful. I believe, and it’s my personal belief, that the Centotaph Trust has betrayed the original plan of a memorial.

“It is a betrayal of everything a remembrance service is. I am totally appalled.”

But others, including chairman of Milton Keynes Partnership Dr Ann Limb and Milton Keynes Councillor John Bint, backed the plans.

Mr Bint said dates like VJ Day were important to him, ‘but also to me the moon landing is incredibly important, as was the week when Lady Diana died.’

The 11/11 ceremony is an open event and will include two minutes’ silence. Proceedings will start at 10.45am.