Wellington Monument Champions sought

The National Trust's Wellington Monument on the Blackdown Hills in Somerset. (c)National Trust/Fran Stothard

People in and around Wellington, who are interested in becoming one of a small group of volunteers needed to support the Wellington Monument Project, have been asked to get in touch with the National Trust by 9 September.

Helen Sharp, National Trust Project Manager, explains: ‘We are looking for a small group of committed individuals at this stage. We’re calling them the ‘Monument Champions’ because we hope they will act as advocates within the local community.

The National Trust's Wellington Monument on the Blackdown Hills

The National Trust’s Wellington Monument on the Blackdown Hills (c)National Trust

‘We need them to support the project by talking to a wide number of local people and groups so we can understand the types of activities and events that would be of interest to the people who live nearby. We also want their help to develop further voluntary roles as things progress so that we can involve a much greater number of people. And finally, we’d like them to look at the plans and give their thoughts on the way the project might develop.

National Trust buildings surveyor Ken Evans and Jon Avent, a structural engineer with Mann Williams chat to Penny Lawrence, Chair of the Blackdown Hills AONB Heritage Group at the National Trust's Wellington Monument on the Blackdown Hills in Somerset. (c)National Trust/Fran Stothard

Survey work being completed on the Monument in 2015. (c)National Trust/Fran Stothard

‘There is a huge amount of local affection and support for the monument and so we hope that we can recruit our voluntary champions who will be asked to give up perhaps a day or more a week until December initially. Anybody who wishes to volunteer can sign up on line at http://bit.ly/wellingtonvolunteer

‘For anyone who wants to help now but can’t commit this time, it would be a massive help if they could complete a short survey at http://bit.ly/wellingtonsurvey that will enable us to gather further views and insight.’

The National Trust’s project to find a long-term solution to the deterioration of Wellington Monument is now making some good progress – although there are still many difficulties ahead and success is far from certain.

The Trust has recently announced that a permanent solution to fully repair the monument is estimated to cost £4 million – providing no further problems are found in the final stages of survey work to take core samples of the foundations and the monument itself.

Sandberg building inspectors Andy Kitson and Kyle Olajorin undertake a GPR survey inside the National Trust's Wellington Monument on the Blackdown Hills in Somerset. (c)National Trust/Fran Stothard

Sandberg building inspectors undertaking a GPR survey inside the Monument. (c)National Trust/Fran Stothard

A lot of time and money has been invested by the Trust in recent years, particularly over the past 12 months, to do the detailed survey work vital to fully understanding what is causing the deterioration of the structure. This included measuring and modelling the impact of wind given the exposed location and undertaking a ground penetrating radar survey. The information has been put together to give a preferred repair option that would see the monument safeguarded for the next 60 years with some regular low level maintenance.

‘We will eventually need to launch a fund raising campaign,’ added Helen. ‘But first we will need support from people who share our passion to have the monument repaired and its future secured for future generations.’

The National Trust is planning to apply for a large chunk of the funding needed from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other grant giving bodies.

If successful, it would allow the Trust to launch a broader fundraising appeal which it is hoped people will get behind when the time comes.   The success of the project remains reliant on these fundraising efforts in addition to the results of the core samples.

The Monument Champions will be vital in helping develop plans which can be put to funders and in helping to think about fundraising with the community.

For more information please contact wellington.monument@nationaltrust.org.uk

The National Trust's Wellington Monument on the Blackdown Hills in Somerset. (c)National Trust/Fran Stothard

Wellington Monument. (c)National Trust/Fran Stothard

To sign up to become a volunteer for the Monument visit: http://bit.ly/wellingtonvolunteer

To complete a short survey to help us gain better insight please follow this link: http://bit.ly/wellingtonsurvey

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