College war memorials set to return

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A WAR memorial stolen from outside a college is set to return.

Staff and pupils at Queen Alexandra College in North Shields were shocked when one of two war memorial plaques was stolen from outside the college in July 2010 by metal thieves.

With the help of the North East War Memorials Project and Cambo-based architect Spence and Dower, the college has been able to get a replacement of the stolen bronze plaque made.

The surviving original plaque, removed from its site at the college’s gates to keep it safe from thieves, has also been refurbished.

Discussions are now taking place over where to site the two plaques.

William McLeod, head of estates at Wallsend’s Tyne Metropolitan College, is keen to site the plaques – listing former pupils of the old Tynemouth Municipal High School killed in the First World War – inside Queen Alexandra College and have two slate plaques put up to replace the original memorials on its gateposts.

Money is proving an obstacle, however, as, because the college is a grade II-listed building, such works have to comply with stricter rules, making them more expensive, and bosses there are already out of pocket after having to pay an insurance excess of £1,400 for the replacement memorial.

Mr McLeod is appealing to businesses to help foot the bill for the plaques to be sited in the college, next to another existing memorial listing former pupils killed in the First World War.

He said: “The plaques look fantastic. The total cost of the work was £7,000.

“If we put the memorial outside on the wall again, they will just go.

“We’re talking to planners from North Tyneside Council and English Heritage about the possibility of relocating the two plaques inside.

“They have to have an input into it with it being a listed building.

“This is going to cost the college money we just don’t have.

“It would be great if we could get some funding from outside the college. The council has some grants but isn’t taking applications until April.”

Anyone who can help the college raise the necessary funds can e-mail Mr McLeod at william.mcleod@tynemet.ac.uk