Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “These gardens are an important link to both the regimental museum and the historical military presence within Winchester. The County Council has significant links with the regiment and with Serle's House, and I am pleased we are able to support the upkeep of the garden as an important and public green space in the centre of the city for both residents and visitors to enjoy.
Serle’s House Memorial Garden in Southgate Street is part of the Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum. It was opened in 1952 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the regiment, to honour the regiment’s war dead and provide an appropriate setting for the scattering of veterans’ ashes.
Councillor Perry continued: “In this centenary year of the end of World War One, this is Hampshire County Council’s way of marking the debt we owe to the servicemen who gave their lives for our freedom. This grant means the museum can commence refurbishment work on the garden right away and concentrate further fundraising on other improvements.”
The museum has already secured £6,000 towards the £21,000 cost of refurbishing the garden, and the County Council has agreed to fund the balance of £15,000 from its Investing in Hampshire Fund.
The Museum and the Memorial Garden are open to the public and free to use.
The grant was welcomed by Brigadier Tim Glass, Chairman of the Royal Hampshire Regiment Trust, who said: “Our Memorial Garden was dedicated in 1952 in to remember the men of the Royal Hampshire Regiment who had lost their lives in both World Wars. Recently, as a result of time, it was in dire need of a facelift. We are extremely grateful for the generosity and support that Mr Roy Perry and Hampshire County Council have given us and, together with the donation already kindly made by the Connaught Trust, it will mean that we will be able to complete the work this year.”
Hampshire County Council’s Investing in Hampshire fund provides grants to specific capital projects for the improvement or maintenance of assets or facilities within Hampshire. The memorial garden and museum at Serle’s House attract visitors and military enthusiasts, as well as being enjoyed by residents.
The grant was approved at the Executive Member for Policy and Resources Decision Day on Thursday 1 November.