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Hewitt: War memorial an integral link to Saints past

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Northampton Saints chairman Tony Hewitt has said that the club’s war memorial is an integral link to the past, helping staff and supporters alike remember the ultimate sacrifice given in service of their country.

Hewitt was speaking at the re-dedication of the war memorial, which was led by Richard Ormston, Archdeacon of Northampton, and in the presence of relatives of the dozen men who both played for the Saints and gave their lives in World War I.

“It’s been great to re-dedicate the memorial with the relatives of the 12 men that died in the First World War and who have their names on the memorial,” he told SaintsTV.

“It’s a fantastic link with Northampton’s past and ties in with our strapline, Proud History, Bright Future. Northampton Saints is also a family club, and I can think of no better way than we should re-dedicate the memorial with the families of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

“It’s very important that we don’t forget, and we’re going to remember them again on Saturday when we have our wreath laying ceremony.”

For some 40 years the memorial had been located in front of the Sturtridge Pavilion, having previously stood in two other areas within the Franklin’s Gardens site. But the development of the Sturtridge Pavilion into the new Barwell Stand this summer necessitated another move, and the memorial is now located in the north-east corner of the stadium, having also been cleaned.

Hewitt said that the inclusion of the war memorial in the new development was crucial for the club’s management.

“It was very important for us,” he added. “When we did the brief for the new stand one of our top requirements was that we accommodated the war memorial pitch side.

“At Northampton it’s been an integral part of being inside the stadium, and the ceremony closest to Remembrance Sunday has always been very special in the hearts of our supporters and away sides.

“I’m really delighted with the position that’s been chosen, and it’s a stunning location. With it being cleaned as well the war memorial has been enhanced.”

The full interview with Tony Hewitt can be seen now at www.youtube.com/thesaintstv, with BBC Northampton’s Graham McKechnie, whose research over the past 18 months being crucial in reconnecting the families with the club, chatting about the experience in this week’s podcast, which can be downloaded for free onto any device at www.soundcloud.com/official-saints-rugby.

The annual Remembrance Ceremony will take place before Saturday’s Aviva Premiership game with Saracens, and the Saints’ management is asking all supporters to be in their seats by 3pm to avoid any unnecessary delays.