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Rededication of Reading memorial

The fully restored memorial to the International Brigade volunteers from Reading was unveiled at its new location in Forbury Gardens on 10 May.

Among those in attendance was the memorial’s sculptor, Eric Stanford, now aged 82, who had also been present on 5 May 1990 when the memorial was unveiled at its original site outside Reading’s civic centre, which is currently being redeveloped. 

A brochure to mark the 2015 event has been produced by the Reading International Brigade Memorial Committee (RIBMC) and can be downloaded here: Memorial Brochure - finished copy.pdfMemorial Brochure - finished copy.pdf

Present at the unveiling 25 years ago were local veterans Jimmy Moon, Reggie Saxton and Thora Silverthorne.

The memorial is now in its new home in the historic Abbey Quarter of Forbury Gardens, situated in the heart of Reading.

For the unveiling ceremony Reading Mayor Tony Jones was joined by local trade unions and political groups, along with members of the International Brigade Memorial Trust.

The result of four years of fundraising, the memorial was created by Eric Stanford and depicts the mothers of those killed in Spain during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39.

At least 16 people from or with a strong connection to Reading are known to have gone to Spain to join the International Brigades.

They fought as soldiers, treated the wounded and drove ambulances. Three were killed. In Reading itself, many more people helped raise funds for refugees and to collect for food aid to go to Spain.

Ray Parkes, of RIBMC, who was part of the original fund raising efforts in the 1980s and a co-author of "We Cannot Park on Both Sides", a book detailing the experiences of the local volunteers, said: “After 25 years it’s wonderful to see this nationally regarded monument returned to its original condition, and re-located to such an historic setting.”

Tony Jones said: “I am very pleased to see this memorial – and an important part of Reading’s heritage – renovated and relocated to the Abbey Quarter. This rededication service honours and remembers those Reading residents who fought for freedom and democracy in the Spanish Civil War.”

  

Top: Sculptor Eric Stanford in front of the International Brigade memorial that he created more than 25 years ago.
Centre: Reading Mayor Tony Jones (front row, third from right) among attendees at the unveiling ceremony on 10 May.
Bottom: Ray Parkes and Nicky Jerrome plus daughters lead the singing of 'Jarama Valley'. Nicky is a music teacher and Labour Councillor in Wokingham.