Spirit of Matlock Remembered

Left to right: Joe Roberts (Fellowship of The Services), Ken Parker (Matlock Civic Association), Jason Atkin (DDDC), Barry and Cate Atkinson + Sue Burfoot (Consultees in David Barker’s Will), Jacquie Stevens, Ian Revill (Royal British Legion), Steve Flitter and Steve Wain (Matlock Town Council). Inset: The new bronze plaque explaining the elements of the ‘Together’ artwork

A new, possibly unique form of Remembrance has been added to the Memorial Stone at Park Head in the centre of Matlock. Entitled ‘Together’ it remembers the spirit of the town as reflected in the many different contributions of local people during the conflicts of the last century. It recalls the vital spirit of Togetherness that saw the town pull together during difficult times. Conceived during the recent covid crisis ‘Together’ is a reminder of what can be achieved through determination, collaboration and mutual support.

There are four figures (three men and a woman) representing each of the three armed services with the fourth figure representing the civilian contribution. Different ranks are depicted. The bronze plaque fixed to the Stone describes what each figure represents as well as recording some of the distinctive roles the town played.

The funds for the project came from a Bequest in the Will of David Barker. David was a long serving Councillor on both Derbyshire Dales District Council and Matlock Town Council. He was three times the Mayor of Matlock and a staunch supporter of The Royal British Legion and The Fellowship of The Services. He was a founder member of Matlock Civic Association. The idea of ‘Together’ was developed in close co-operation between these five organisations and is a fitting first use of David’s bequest.

The project was managed by Ken Parker of the Civic Association who also designed the bronze plaque. This was cast and fitted by Leander Architectural from Dove Holes. The four figures were produced and installed by Phil Brown and his apprentices Luke Steadman and Bayley Palmer of Achieve Training in Newcastle-under-Lyme and are based on drawings by Andrew Edwards. Some of the history depicted came from local author Keith Taylor. Sid Harbey from the Fellowship helped with the uniform details.

A simple ceremony on 30th June was attended by representatives of all these partner organisations to celebrate the project’s completion and to formally make the handover to Derbyshire Dales District Council for ongoing management.

Quotes from the 30th June Ceremony:

“We are delighted to be facilitating the installation of this artwork in our Hall Leys Park. David Barker was a long serving member of the District Council and our Civic Chairman in 2009/10. It is appropriate that his bequest has resulted in such a thought-provoking piece.” Councillor Garry Purdy – Leader of Derbyshire Dales District Council.

“A big thank you to everyone who has contributed to enable this marvellous project to happen.”

Ian Revill – Chairman Matlock and Darley Dale Branch of the Royal British Legion.

“I have had a good look around me today and I see a diverse gathering – yet we are all joined together by a common bond – we will remember them.”

Joe Roberts BEM – Chair 365 Matlock Mess, Fellowship of The Services.

“We are grateful to Matlock Civic Association – an organisation able to complete such ambitious projects for the benefit of the town.”

Councillor Steve Flitter on behalf of Matlock Town Council.

“David was a good friend. He loved this town and its people. This enhancement of the Memorial Stone is a fitting tribute to David which I am sure he would be proud of.”

Councillor Sue Burfoot – County, District and Town Councillor.