REPAIR work has finally started on the ‘sinking’ War Memorial - seven years since repairs were first discussed by the town council.

Water damage to the base of the memorial in Ledbury is so extensive, stones have cracked, and the monument gives the odd impression of sinking into the pavement.

Ledbury Town Council Mayor, cllr Phillip Howells, a former commissioned officer in the British Army, said: “The War Memorial has long been a focal point for the town to remember the people who died in conflict.

“The plan was to get it ready for VE Day but then Covid-19 came along.

"It looks like it will be ready for VJ Day this summer, as long as Government guidelines on social contact are eased.

“This issue with the memorial has been going on a long time, but we needed to sort funding out and get a stone cutter in who was suitable for the job on such a monument.”

The fund for the work is around £30k.

Stuart Heaton, aged 95, a former RAF navigator on Lancaster bombers, son of a former editor of the Ledbury Reporter, fully funded the work with a generous donation.

But Mr Heaton, who now lives in London, said he had a very personal reason for wanting to fund the restoration of the war memorial.

He said: "Several of the names on the memorial are known to me, and several of those I knew as people; that's the main reason. I thought it would be a wonderful thing to do - for myself. I count myself lucky that my name is not on there."

Cllr dean Whattler, chair of the Environment & Leisure Committee in respect of the War Memorial, said: “ The refurbishment will also include ensuring that rain water freely drains away so as not to cause damage to the stone work.

“When completed we will finally have returned the War Memorial to its original grandeur to honour the lives of the fallen servicemen who gave their lives for our country.”

Work was due to start on May 26, but was delayed until May 27, as a delivery of security equipment to make the site safe was held up.

December this year will be the centenary of the memorial's installation.