War veterans behind the Bomber Command Memorial say they face financial ruin after a funding shortfall leaves them liable for more than £500,000.
Late Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb fronted a five-year campaign to secure funding for the memorial from both public and private donations. The £6m open-air pavilion which is dedicated to the 55,573 airmen who lost their lives during World War II was unveiled by the Queen earlier this year.
Amongst the contributors were the Ministry of Defence (MoD) who donated £1.5m and the government, who gave £1m towards the cost of VAT plus a further £200,000 to cover seating and security. The project even managed to unite political opponents David Cameron and Gordon Brown while alienating environmentalists. They also stumped up for personnel, aircraft and catering services to the tune of £375,000. Despite this, the Bomber Command Appeal now face a sizeable cash shortfall which means some trustees may be forced to sell their houses. RAF Bomber Command veteran Gordon Mellor said to the BBC:
“This has been my concern for a long time, especially as the cost of the whole project went up and up and up. We’ve got to find some way of paying.”
The veterans do have plans in place to help raise the required amount and a tribute memorial concert is planned for next year. Trustees must also look to the future — money will be needed to pay for the upkeep of the memorial too.
By Rhian Robinson
Photo by ianwhyliephoto in the Londonist Flickr pool.