Victoria Cross hero finally gets a plaque

PUBLISHED: 16:35 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 06:57 30 May 2010

Dunmow Town Council’s deputy clerk David Green with the plaque

Dunmow Town Council's deputy clerk David Green with the plaque

AN ARCHITECT has stepped in after Uttlesford District Council refused to erect a a plaque on its building to commemorate Great Dunmow s only Victoria Cross hero. Rev Noel Mellish, who was the vicar of Dunmow from 1928 to 1948, went between captured and en

AN ARCHITECT has stepped in after Uttlesford District Council refused to erect a a plaque on its building to commemorate Great Dunmow's only Victoria Cross hero.

Rev Noel Mellish, who was the vicar of Dunmow from 1928 to 1948, went between captured and enemy trenches during the First World War, to rescue 22 severely wounded men in just three days at St Eloi in Belgium.

As a fitting tribute, a bronze plaque, in dedication to him was heading for a place on the Uttlesford District Council offices in the High Street as agreed by Dunmow Town Council.

That was until Uttlesford District Council's (UDC) conservation department rejected the idea citing concerns over the growing level of signage on the grade II listed building.

Town clerk Owen Wilson fumed: "This was a chance for them [UDC] to do something right and consider what people in Dunmow would like.

"For some reason they have decided to take a negative view. I really can't see why putting up this expensive plaque is so difficult."

Barbara Bosworth, conservation officer at UDC said: "Minor external features like burglar alarms, meter boxes and signage require listed building consent and only visually undamaging fixtures are agreed.

"In my view a 500mm by 350mm plaque would disturb the existing balance of the frontal design and be detrimental to the character of the building."

Mrs Bosworth also said she was concerned that agreeing to the installation would set a precedent leading to the introduction of other plaques and notices.

But Peter Rayner of PJ Rayner & Co has offered to give the plaque a home. He said: "I'm not completely sure if I will need planning permission, but the town council came to me because the brickwork is in-keeping with the plaque and I said yes."

Peter Street, chairman of Dunmow History Society explains how the idea came to be in the first place.

He said: "Last September on memorial Sunday we held a service at the United Reformed Church on New Street when I stood up and told people about this very brave man from Dunmow who no-one new about.

"Ex-mayor Frank Silver backed the idea to remember him and the plaque was born. We are also releasing a book all about the war hero at the unveiling."

All the money raised from book sales will help fund the plaque, together with a donation from Dunmow Town Council.

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