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Anne to unveil memorial

Work has finally started to build a special harbourside memorial dedicated to the thousands of Bristol merchant seaman who have died at sea.

Construction experts have laid the foundations for the tribute garden, at Welsh Back, in time for a spring opening ceremony.

The opening comes after a year-long fundraising drive launched in the Bristol Evening Post.

Princess Anne will perform the honours at a long-awaited unveiling of the memorial on May 21.

The news that work has started comes after setbacks in acquiring the large rock which will be the centrepiece of the memorial. The huge obelisk will now be shipped from Norway.

Merchant Navy Association (Bristol) campaign treasurer Ted Williams said: “It’s great news that the work has finally started.

“It seems a long time ago that we launched the drive to raise the money needed to open the tribute garden.”

Bath-based artist David Backhouse was chosen to come up with a design for the tribute. He was picked ahead of three other contenders after they submitted their designs to the MNA.

The £100,000 contract attracted some of the top names in the world of monument design.

MNA (Bristol) chairman Harry Higgins said: “We wanted something that is going to make people stop, look and think.”

Donations flooded in for the Evening Post-backed fundraising drive after we told how Bristol was the only major city in the country without such a memorial.

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