Setback for WW1 hero’s memorial restoration project as mindless thieves steal digger equipment in run up to commemorative event.
Volunteers step in to try and complete the works in time for the special memorial event over the festive period. Following a 3 year fundraising effort and over 1,000 hours of work by volunteers and contractors the project to restore the Lauder Monument and improve car park and access to the site is now facing a race against time to be complete ahead of the commemorative event being planned to mark the 102nd anniversary of the death of Captain John Lauder on 28th December, 1916 in France during WW1.
Volunteers have stepped in at short notice to try and complete ditching and drainage work following the theft earlier this week of two buckets from mechanical diggers which were being used to create a new path and car park at the memorial site beside the busy main road between Strachur and Dunoon in the Cowal Peninsula.
The Lauder Monument at Invernoaden in Argyll was built in 1921 by world-famous entertainer Sir Harry Lauder’ in memory of his son, Captain John Lauder, who was tragically killed on a battlefield in France between Christmas and New Year 1916. The Monument has been painstakingly restored and improved path and car parking access works are nearing completion as part of a project led by the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, the independent conservation and heritage charity for the National Park.
Friends Chairman, James Fraser said: ‘’We have been pulling out all the stops to complete this £25,000 restoration and improvement programme at what is an important historic but long neglected site to mark the selfless contribution of local war hero Capt John Lauder in the First World War. We have been receiving great support from volunteers and the local community to deliver much needed improvements and are saddened by the very selfish and thoughtless act of thieves who, under the cover of darkness, have stolen buckets from diggers we had on hire for car park and path works. However, we are determined not to allow this setback to stop us completing this project and in the words of Sir Harry Lauder, who was devastated by the tragic loss of his son who was shot by a sniper, and then went on to raise millions for injured First World War veterans, we will ‘’keep right on until the end of the road’’ to ensure the work is finished in time for the commemorative event planned later this month. The theft has been reported to the police and it is hoped the perpetrators of this selfish act will have a pang of conscious and return the stolen goods so that the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs are not hit with a substantial bill to replace the digger equipment.
Members of the public can show their support by turning out at the special commemorative event planned at the site at 12 noon on Friday 28th December when talented local children and others will share some of the writings and songs of Sir Harry Lauder as part of a tribute to the memory of Captain John Lauder and others killed or injured in the First World War. Sir Harry Lauder purchased nearby Invernoaden House and the 14,000 acre Glenbranter Estate as an engagement present for his son John and his bride to be, Mildred Thomson, in 1916 but sadly John was tragically killed before they were married and able to enjoy family life in this special part of the National Park.