A WAR memorial plaque taken by thieves will be restored in Willaston in time for Remembrance Sunday.
It is nearly a year since convicted burglar Michael Coyle received a nine-week jail sentence for trying to sell the bronze plaque, which had been prised off the war memorial at Christ Church on Neston Road, Willaston, during the night of July 29, 2011.
The memorial listed the names of war heroes who died in the First World War and had been in the same spot for 90 years.
But Coyle, from Little Neston, was caught on CCTV trying to make cash from selling the plaque, which was worth £1,130 when it was erected in 1921, to KJ Bell scrap metal merchants in Ellesmere Port the day after it was stolen.
He was jailed after pleading guilty to handling stolen goods at Chester Crown Court in December last year but the thief has never been caught.
But this weekend Willaston’s servicemen will receive a fitting tribute when a replacement plaque is unveiled at the church, following £16,000 worth of generous donations from benefactors across the world.
The memorial will be unveiled at this Sunday’s remembrance ceremony by pupils of Willaston CE Primary School, who last year erected temporary plaques on the war memorial, and rededicated by the Rev Raymond Dent.
The vicar said it was a relief to have some kind of closure on what had been ‘a trying year’.
“Once again we will have a memorial as we should have to the men of this village who gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars,” he said.
“It has been a trying year for us all but there are a lot of people to thank for all their work in getting us to this point.
“Last year some of the pupils wrote all the names of the fallen on cards to make temporary plaques which we have used ever since.
“This weekend some of them will take those plaques off and others will replace the new one.
“We were all hoping this would be done in time for Remembrance Sunday and hopefully we will have some kind of closure on it now.”
The new plaque has been cast and engraved in Australia, before being brought to England.