Expert panel of judges announced for First World War Victoria Cross paving stone competition

  • 14 October, 2013
  • Bravery
  • Politics

Seven judges will decide on a shortlist of entries to present to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

A panel of 7 experts has been appointed to judge the competition to design the First World War Victoria Cross paving stone that is set to take pride of place in over 400 communities across the country.

The UK-wide competition, launched by the Department for Communities and Local Government in August this year, is a key feature of plans to mark the centenary of the First World War and will be presented to councils in those areas where Victoria Cross recipients were born.

The judges will decide on a shortlist of entries to present to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles who will make the final decision on the winning design. The judges are:

  • Lord Ashcroft: – Conservative Peer, owner of the largest collection of Victoria Cross medals and author of the book ‘Victoria Cross Heroes’
  • Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry – British army soldier who was awarded the Victoria Cross in 2005 and is the first living recipient of the Victoria Cross in over 30 years
  • Michael Burleigh – historian and member of the government’s First World War Centenary Advisory Board
  • Major General Patrick Cordingley – Chairman of the National Memorial Arboretum appeal
  • Sebastian Faulks – novelist and member of the government’s First World War Centenary Advisory Board
  • Dame Helen Ghosh – Chair of the National Trust
  • Diane Lees – Director-General IWM (Imperial War Museums)

Entries submitted ranged from primary and secondary schools, design professionals and students as well as members of the public and in total 201 entries were received.

The winning designer will see their paving stone laid in 430 communities across the country – a lasting legacy for years to come, and a fitting tribute to the extraordinary bravery of the local heroes who fought for their country.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

This competition has captured the minds and imagination of the nation and I am extremely impressed with the high quality of entries that were submitted from such a variety of people.

These paving stones will ensure that there is a permanent memorial to all the fallen soldiers across the country and will enable local communities to connect with this important piece of their shared history.

For the winner, it means that their design will be admired in communities for years to come and I look forward to seeing the final stone soon in all its glory.

The first stones will be laid on 23 August 2014 to represent the date the first 2 Victoria Crosses were won on the same date in August 1914. These will be in Brent, to mark Charles Garforth of Willesden Green and Mid Sussex District Council – to mark Sidney Godley of East Grinstead.

Further information

The paving stones will be laid in corresponding dates from 2014 to 2018 – for example if a Victoria Cross was awarded in August 1915 – the stone will be laid in August 2015, so it is always 100 years on from when it was won.

All Victoria Cross heroes of the First World War will be commemorated. For those born overseas but who have a local connection in the UK, the relevant local council will be offered a paving stone. We are also working with the National Memorial Arboretum to ensure that all heroes who were awarded the Victoria Cross, but who were born overseas, are commemorated.

A total of 363 Victoria Crosses were awarded to English-born recipients, 44 to Scottish born-recipients and 15 to Welsh-born recipients. Thirty-two Victoria Crosses were awarded in pre-partition Ireland, 8 in what is now Northern Ireland and 24 in what is now the Republic of Ireland.

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