A sod-cutting ceremony has heralded the start of work on a new memorial building in a Whiston cemetery.
The scheme at Foxes Bank Cemetery will replace a similar centre which stood in the grounds of Whiston Hospital until its demolition in 2006.
Mayor of Whiston Jackie Delaney was joined at the ceremony by children from Halstead, Whiston Willis and St Leo’s primaries.
Representatives from Whiston Initiatives in Cultural Heritage (WICH) and The Friends of Foxes Bank also attended.
Both groups have organised a number of events aimed at raising the £134,000 needed for the project. The project also received backing from Knowsley Council.
The original Whiston Hospital memorial is believed to be one of the first buildings of its kind in the country to be used by grieving relatives of different faiths and Christian denominations.
It was knocked down as part of the hospital’s redevelopment plans despite significant local opposition. Members of WICH were keen to preserve the key elements of the original buildings design, including stonework and a number of stain glass windows.
As well as providing a place for quiet reflection for those visiting the cemetery, the memorial building will also feature a heritage exhibition.
Work to clear the site has been completed, and Vinci Construction is supporting the project by managing the build which has now started.
Over £30,000 has now been invested in the build, including more than £17,000 raised through fundraising, but the campaigners are still working towards their target and have appealed to local businesses to support the project which will preserve a vital part of Whiston’s heritage.
Coun David Williams, who is also WICH’S vice-president, said: “While WICH members and the friends group have done a great job fundraising for the memorial building, they still need support from local businesses willing to donate their skills and materials to build the memorial building.
“We’re also offering businesses the opportunity to sponsor parts of the building, including the historic stained glass windows.”
Anyone willing to support the memorial building can contact the group on 07805 028581 or email firstname.lastname@example.org