The National Memorial Arboretum Appeal was launched on Friday 24 April 2009 by its patron, HRH Prince William of Wales – now HRH The Duke of Cambridge KG, with a target of £8m. In 2010/11 the plans were reviewed in the light of the continuing high numbers of visitors and it was decided that a major area for outside events such as Armistice Day was needed together with a canopy for shelter. Hence the figure rose to £12m.
The Appeal will fund the building of a Pavilion to provide a venue for functions, events and acts of Remembrance for the 200 military units, ex-Service groups and other interested parties to meet. It will also enable the Arboretum to expand its work with children from 5,000 a year to 10,000 a year, through the creation of a dedicated Education Centre.
In addition there will be an Interpretation area which will present the meaning of Remembrance.These, together with better facilities – reception area, restaurant, café, shop – which will provide a much more appropriate experience particularly for those who have had long journeys.
The Armed Forces Memorial, which was dedicated by HM The Queen in 2007, is the reason that many people travel to this unique place.
Since then, many more memorials have been added to the site including the Basra Wall, the new RAF Memorial, the new RNLI memorial, the Polish Memorial Armed Forces Memorial and many more.
As the Centre of National Remembrance, the stunning and moving National Memorial Arboretum plays a leading role in many Remembrance occasions.
Major-General Patrick Cordingley, who commanded the Desert Rats in the first Gulf War and is Chairman of the Appeal, said: "The Arboretum has become a place in which the Nation comes to remember and pays tribute to our Armed Forces. I've met no one who has failed to be incredibly moved by their visit here, especially when seeing the massed ranks of names on the towering Portland Stone walls of the Armed Forces Memorial."
Donations can be made to the Appeal now by clicking on the leaf below, or send cheques payable to the "National Memorial Arboretum Appeal" to: NMA Appeal Office, 1 Fitzgerald Road, London SW14 8HA.