STUDENTS have rallied together to show their support for the repairing of a town's war memorial.

Following the latest act of vandalism to the World War One memorial soldier at Flint Castle, students at Flint High School have come together and pledged to raise funds towards the cost of repairs.

Jim Connelly, headteacher, said the vandalism has impacted greatly on the students.

He added: "None of us can believe what has happened, we’re all in shock at the damage inflicted on this symbolic remembrance figure for a second time.

"Through our remembrance services and history lessons, our students have a clear understanding of the suffering and sacrifice of all those who have fought in wars and conflicts and they are at a loss to understand how anyone could want to inflict such damage to this symbolic figure.

The Leader:

Oliver Davies and Meg Roberts with headteacher Jim Connelly alongside the vandalised memorial soldier

"Members of our school council came to us to see what could be done to help towards the restoration work and the non-uniform day was the first suggestion put forward. The students are also organising other activities including a cake sale and collection buckets.

"We hope to raise as much money as we can in the coming weeks and invite the local community to support us."

Staggered by the thought that anyone could incur such mindless acts of vandalism, the drive to help was kick started by students on the school council.

Oliver Davies, head boy, said: "We want this to be a life lesson about looking after things. People should be considerate and treasure what our community prides themselves on."

To start the fundraising programme, a non-uniform day will take place in the next couple of weeks. The school is also acting as a donation centre for members of the public who would like to support the fund.

Meg Roberts, head girl, added: "It is outrageous that someone could be that disrespectful towards a war memorial. We feel that it is important that young people respect and remember what our community did for our country. This is why we want to become involved in righting this wrong doing."

The Leader has previous reported that vandals had scrawled a swastika overnight on March 13 and it was subject to further vandalism on May 2 where it sustained fire damage.

Councillor Ian Roberts, Leader of Flintshire Council and Flint Town Councillor for the Castle Ward, welcomes the school’s support.

He said: "As a Flint member of the council I know how community minded Flint High School is. I will personally support the school’s appeal and urge others in the community to do the same.

"Flint High School students are to be commended on their actions as I understand this has come out of the school council.

"I hope that this sends a clear message that the community of Flint is appalled at this act of vandalism and will work together to ensure that the sculpture is fully restored and that this will not happen again."

Mike Taylor, Coastal Ranger with the Flintshire Countryside Service, initially installed the sculpture with artist, Mike Owens. It was one of three sculptures commissioned by CADW and Flintshire Council to represent the historic features of Flint.

Mr Taylor added: "I am really disappointed by this damage but we will look to repair this in the next few weeks.

"I am absolutely made up to hear that the students from Flint High School have taken this action to help fund the restoration. It’s a most unexpected surprise and a great gesture by the students.

"We are now looking at new surveillance cameras in the vicinity to watch over the soldier once the restoration work has been completed. In addition, we are recruiting volunteers to assist with looking after the coast and the soldier and they will let us know about any suspicious activity."

Anyone who would like to support the school’s appeal towards the costs of the restoration work can do so by calling in person at the school with cash or cheque.