Minutes: Beech Tree War Memorial Village Meeting 30/7/19


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  1. The meeting was chaired by George Tomlin. A list of apologies received is attached as is a list of those attending.
  2. Agenda. The agenda used for the meeting is attached.
  3. Purpose Of The Meeting. The chair explained that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss and clarify the issues surrounding the proposal that the beech tree stump on the village green should be carved and used as a memorial to those from Constable Burton, Hauxwell and Finghall who gave their lives in both World War 1 and 2. As such no decisions were to be taken at the meeting but members of our community would now know the facts for consideration.
  4. Introduction And Background.
  1. It was explained by the chair that last year he had carried out some research into those from our community who had given their lives in WW1 and 2. It was explained that in doing so it had been discovered that nowhere are all of the names brought together on one memorial and clearly displayed. In addition, there are 2 names not recorded on any of our memorials. (Sydney George Thomas Powell and Nathaniel John Merriman Barry)


  1. The idea of creating a memorial within Constable Burton was earlier considered by the chair. It was not until the 13th June on hearing that the beech tree on the green was to be felled did the idea of using the tree stump for a memorial come to him.
  1. Between the 13th and 19th June the following sequence of events took place:
      1. Approval for the proposed project agreed with Mr Charles Wyvill.
      2. Several wood carvers were contacted with the most positive reply coming from Mr Lucas Beben a carver previously commissioned by Richmondshire District Council.
      3. A meeting was held on the 17th June to discuss the feasibility of the project, the height of the carving and its funding. It was agreed that it was feasible and several sources for funding were suggested. In attendance were:

Mr George Tomlin

Mr Charles Wyvill

Mr Lucas Beben

Councillor Richard Ormston

Parish Councillor Keith Loadman

      1. Applications for funding were submitted to NYCC Locality Budget for a maximum of £300 and another to the Lower Wensleydale Area Partnership for a maximum of £1,000.
      2. The Rev Chris Lawton was emailed with the details of the proposal in order that his parishioners would be aware of what was being proposed.
      3. A notice by the chair was posted on the village web site outlining the proposal and asking for input from members of our community.


  1. The chair apologised to the meeting as he had not made it clear in his post on the village web site that this was a ‘proposal’ and not a project that was now to go ahead without consultation and agreement. He also explained the tight schedule in that the tree needed to be felled for safety reasons as soon as possible and that he himself was to be away from the country with effect of the 20th June.


  1. The meeting was asked by the chair if anyone wished to raise any points at this stage. The invitation was declined.


  1. Points Raised In Opposition To Proposed Tree Stump On The Village Green.


    1. The chair thanked Mr Chris Green for producing and circulating a document detailing concerns raised by members of the community. The chair identified the 2 main points raised as being:


      1. The proximity of the children’s play area to the proposed memorial.
      2. The lack of car parking space.


    1. The chair did not agree to either of these points but opened the floor up for discussion. (these points are discussed at length under ‘any other business’).


  1. The Design Of The Carving.


    1. The chair stated that his ideas for the design of the carving had not been earlier divulged in order that other people could develop their own ideas. He now stated that his ideas are ‘to reflect the beauty of the countryside we live in. To reflect peace, tranquillity and hope’. He also said that Mr Wyvill had asked that a cross should be included within the design.


    1. It was also stated that some suggestions for the design had been received from Mr Chris Green, Mr John Edington, Mrs Jean Knight, Mrs Emma Scott Mills and Mr Karl Brown. All reflected the idea of local ‘flora and fauna. There were some misunderstandings concerning the use of a large crucifix as opposed to a small cross within the design and the creation of a ‘cenotaph’ which was not the intention.


    1. The chair felt that it was not a good idea to use specific emblems and symbols of organisations as some were bound to be omitted. Rather the carving in itself should be all encompassing.
    1. The chair stated that sketches of the proposed design would be produced by Mr Beben before starting the carving. (Photocopies of one of Mr Beben’s carvings were circulated at the meeting.)


  1. Height Of The Memorial. It had been intended that the height of the carving should stand at approximately 20 feet. During the felling of the tree this was adjusted to 30 feet. The chair stated that there is concern over its present height both in appearance and future maintenance. At 20 feet maintenance involving oiling of the carving could be undertaken by village self-help.


  1. Design Of The Plaque.
    1. The chair stated that there had been little comment concerning the design of the brass plaque. He had expected views on its size, the fonts, colouring and other designs. The only suggested made to him was to include the outline of a soldier in the centre of the plaque.


    1. The wording on the plaque and the traditional quote on it should be subject to scrutiny and others may have ideas as to what should be written on it. Mr John Edington suggested a quote by Helen Keller which reads “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”.


    1. The chair suggested that in view of some opposition to a cross being included within the carving that it could be engraved into the plaque.


  1. Names On The Plaque And Local Publications.


    1. By contacting the Rev Chris Lawson it is hoped that through his parish that no other names will be omitted by mistake.


    1. It is our intention to write to local publications for the same purpose.


    1. The chair in response to the question as to why we also remember Nathan John Merriman Barry and Sydney George Thomas Powell. In response the chair replied that the former was a fighter pilot whose mortal remains are buried in St Andrew’s Church Finghall. The latter not local but married Muriel Elsie Ashwood from Thorpe Perrow. She raised his son in Hauxwell but he never saw his son and was worked to death on the Burma railway. She remarried one Thomas Blades in 1949.


  1. Funding. It was stated that:


    1. The cost of the project would be:


      1. Felling of the tree £1440 met by Mr Charles Wyvill.
      2. A grant of £300 had been received from the NYCC Locality Budget for the purchase and engraving of the plaque. Any surplus will contribute to the project as a whole.
      3. A second grant for a maximum of £1,000 has been applied for from the Lower Wensleydale Area Partnership. If granted this will be given at the end of September. Councillor Richard Ormston pointed out that we may not get the full amount.
      4. Leaves approximately £566 still to be found.


    1. Other areas of funding that might be considered one of which is the Finghall Barrel push fund.


    1. If the tree is to be lowered, then this may incur additional costs. However, the carving of an additional 10 feet is also likely to increase costs.


    1. It was clarified by the chair that an application to the Lower Wensleydale Area Partnership by the Reading Room Committee for maintenance is not in conflict with that of this proposal.


  1. Start Date. The chair stated that:


    1. There is no start date. The proposal first requires approval of the community. Under no circumstances is this whole project going ahead without a substantial majority of the community’s approval.


    1. Many funds will not allow work to start on a project before funding has been approved.
    1. A target date for the project to be completed would be before 11th November 2020.


  1. Matters Arising. The chair opened the floor for general discussion:


    1. Mr Chris Green stated that he would prefer to see the stump reduced to:


      1. ground level
      2. or to be reduced in height and left uncarved less an ‘Alice In Wonderland’ hole carved at its base.


    1. Mr Green also highlighted several items from the document he had circulated in the community. These included:


      1. The proximity of the children’s play area which he considered inappropriate. He believes that it will make the area a sombre place and that a better location for the memorial would be at Hutton Hang. It was pointed out to him that the wars and the sacrifices made are a part of the primary school curriculum and that the younger generation are very much aware of this.
      2. The problem of car parking and the increased number of tourists to the village. The chair responded pointing out that our Summer Fair is the busiest day within the village and that car parking has not been a significant problem. In addition that under current planning there would not be a large formal gathering on Armistice Day.


    1. Letters And Opinions Received. Several letters and opinions were received and passed to the chair. One letter was opposed to the creation of a war memorial stating that the money could be put to better use. Most expressed support for the proposal but with some reservations and for the need of clarification on some points. These included:


      1. The proximity of the children’s play area.
      2. The intended height of the memorial.
      3. The inclusion of a cross or large crucifix within the design.
      4. The creation of a cenotaph.
      5. The design of the carving.
      6. The durability of the carving.





    1. General Discussion.


      1. There were many views expressed concerning the design of the carving. The main thrust of this was that it should reflect the area in which we live and that it should be a celebration of the history of the village. Poppies should be included within the design.
      2. The design should be tasteful, not like a totem-pole in appearance or making the place look like Blackpool.
      3. Opinion at the meeting appeared to be divided concerning the intended height of the carving.
      4. It was pointed out that there is a plaque inside St Andrew’s Church, Finghall and that the church may be intended for closure.
      5. The possibility that the plaque could be attached to the Reading Room wall.
      6. Councillor Keith Loadman said that the beech tree was the last of 5 magnificent trees that used to stand on the green. To have the last tree put to a further purpose was entirely fitting and its use as a memorial very appropriate.


    1. Closing The Meeting.


      1. The chair concluded by saying that there was now time to consider this proposal prior to the next meeting. He also said that this project will not go ahead without the support of a large majority of the community.
      2. He closed the meeting thanking those who had attended at 8.30pm.


    1. Date Of Next Meeting. The next meeting to consider this proposal will be held on Thursday 15th August 2019 in the Reading Room 7pm.



Major (Retd) George F Tomlin MBE July 2019 Project Manager Chair to the meeting



Hilly Dobson July 2019 Parish Councillor Secretary to the meeting



  1. Apologies received.
  2. Record of attendance.
  3. Agenda.


Attachment A To

Minutes of the

Beech Tree War Memorial Village Meeting

Held in the Reading Room on Tuesday 30th July at 7pm




Rev Chris Lawton

Charles Wyvill

Mavis Allen

Kylie Ford

Ruth Gamble

Jean Knight

Natalie Johnson

Andy Johnson

Margaret Topliss

Ken Topliss

Tracy Hughs

Cliff Bowes

Clk to the Parish Council Joan Hainsworth

Chair to the Parish Council Iain Hainsworth

Ann Bodman

Alan Bodman

Marilyn Logan


Note: Mr D’Arcy Wyvill, Mr and Mrs Tony Duff were unable to attend the meeting due to an emergency.

Attachment B To

Minutes of the

Beech Tree War Memorial Village Meeting

Held in the Reading Room on Tuesday 30th July at 7pm




Please print your name.



George Tomlin

Jasmine Hall

Hilly Dobson

Josie Downie

Councillor Keith Loadman

Jennie Shaw

Councillor Richard Ormston

Chris Hughes

Gillian Carss

Trevor McDonald

Moira Edington

John Edington

Eddie Hemsley

Chris Green

Janette Boult

Cathy Ayers

Stewart Ayers

Lucy Hall

Stuart Hall

Evie Hall

Matthew Hall

Attachment C To

Minutes of the

Beech Tree War Memorial Village Meeting

Held in the Reading Room on Tuesday 30th July at 7pm



  1. Introduction and background.
  2. Points raised in opposition to the proposal.
  3. Design of the carving.
  4. Height of the memorial.
  5. Design of the plaque.
  6. Names on the plaque and local publications.
  7. Funding.
  8. Start date.
  9. Matters arising.


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