Prison remembers RAF history

Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland Tim Willbond, a retired RAF Group Captain, lays a wreath at the dedicationof the new war memorial in the grounds of HMP Northumberland, accompanied by Mairi Campbell and Clare Froud, from Novus,  and Nick Leader , HMP Northumberland director.
Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland Tim Willbond, a retired RAF Group Captain, lays a wreath at the dedicationof the new war memorial in the grounds of HMP Northumberland, accompanied by Mairi Campbell and Clare Froud, from Novus, and Nick Leader , HMP Northumberland director.

Prisoners and staff at HMP Northumberland have worked together to create a permanent war memorial in the prison’s grounds.

Learners from construction, creativity, English and maths classes worked together on the eight-week project, to design and create a memorial to armed forces personnel and those who worked at the site when it was RAF Acklington.

The project was managed by the Novus team, who run the education department.

Mairi Campbell, education manager for Novus, said: “This project has provided a wonderful opportunity to commemorate the historic importance of the RAF site at Acklington. The initial planning and research has been done by our functional skills learners and the final construction has been completed by plasterers, bricklayers and carpenters from our vocational courses.

“The planning of the memorial is a great example of collaborate work between Sodexo and Novus and is an illustration of the quality of work the residents can produce.”

Nick Leader, director at HMP Northumberland, said: “This piece of work has enabled a number of our prisoners to be involved in something which has significant meaning to the area.

“War memorials offer us a permanent reminder of those who have made extraordinary sacrifices in the arena of warfare for their country. They are a signal to all who pass, pause or pray near them that we are thankful to servicemen and women and we will not forget them. This has special significance to us given our site was used by the RAF.

“War memorials also act as a prompt for us to consider the hard work of reconciliation between nations and peoples so that past sacrifices are not made in vain. It’s a delight that the prison has been able to help make this difference in partnership with Novus.”

The project gave the learners the opportunity to showcase the skills they have learnt while in education.

One of the learners, a veteran who has just completed his Level 3 bricklaying qualification, said: “I am very proud to be given this opportunity to help build the memorial.”

The memorial will give residents, staff and visitors the opportunity to enjoy a place for quiet contemplation as well as being a central point for formal remembrance services.

A ceremony to dedicate the memorial was led by the Rev David Haslam, RAF Boulmer’s station chaplain.