The Catenians

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A Place to Remember

Publish Date: Tue 7th May 2019

THE CATENIAN ASSOCIATION MEMORIAL

A place to remember

A permanent memorial for Catenians and their family and friends will be blessed on 13th July 2019 at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire

David Rowley launched The Grand President’s Memorial Appeal during his term of office in 2016, in order to raise money to establish a Catenian Association memorial. Although originally meant to be a 12-month appeal, it took longer than anticipated to raise sufficient monies to enable a suitable memorial to be designed and built.

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David explains how it came about: “There had been discussions for a number of years, principally in Province 6, about having a memorial. Several people had visited the National Memorial Arboretum and felt it would be fitting for the Catenian Association to have its own memorial there.”

He adds: “The memorial is to remember all those Catenians, their families and friends who suffered, were wounded or have given their lives in conflicts since our foundation in 1908. As it will be permanent, I hope that it will be a beacon for Catenians and their families to visit whenever they are passing. The National Memorial Arboretum is in Alrewas, Staffordshire, close to the A38 and there are clearly marked brown signs to it.”

The memorial will be dedicated at noon at the Arboretum and Archbishop Bernard Longley has kindly agreed to conduct the ceremony, which is expected to take about 30 minutes. While details have yet to be finalised, it will include a short performance by the Gresley Male Voice Choir and a bugler will play the last post.

On the day itself, there will be a Catenian presence at the Arboretum reception from 9am. Those wishing to attend should arrive in good time as the memorial is a good walk from reception. However, there will be shuttle buggies available for those who need transport to the site from 11am. The Remembrance Centre, situated at the entrance to the Arboretum, has a restaurant serving hot and cold food. Out of interest, the manager of the catering facilities is the son of a Catenian. It is fine to bring a packed lunch.

As for the Arboretum itself, David says that while it has grown significantly over the years, it retains a sense of calm and reverence which is difficult to explain.

“You really have to visit. On arrival you are met by friendly and helpful staff, most of whom are volunteers. You feel at home from the start. The relatively new and imposing visitor centre has a certain wow factor about it.”

The Catenian Memorial will be situated on the edge of a large open space which the British Legion have made into a poppy field, close to the river.

David says: “It is in a peaceful spot with trees as a backcloth. Until it is actually erected, it is difficult to completely visualise. I am really looking forward to seeing the memorial in place. Again, the Arboretum staff have been most helpful in finding us a suitable location.

“Essentially, it will be a peaceful place to linger and to remember. I said in my application to the Arboretum authorities that the Catenian Association has a long tradition of remembering and praying for our deceased members and their families and, therefore, it is highly appropriate to have such a permanent memorial.”

There is a daily act of remembrance at 10.50am in the Millennium Chapel which includes a two-minute silence followed by an introduction to the Arboretum. Those attending the dedication may wish to join that. It is about a 20-minute walk from the Chapel to the dedication site. There will be seating for 50 people which is intended for those less able.

Entry to the Arboretum is free but there is a car parking charge of £3. There are donation boxes around if anyone wishes to make a financial contribution.

For more details about the Arboretum, visit the website at www.thenma.org.uk

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