Alrewas National Memorial Arboretum unveils £15.7 million Remembrance Centre

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The National Memorial Arboretum has opened a £15.7 million Remembrance Centre.

Following a fundraising campaign and contribution from The Royal British Legion, visitors will be able to embark on an emotional journey of discovery around the 330 memorials on site.

The Remembrance Centre received support from a wide range of other donors, individuals and groups, including the Heritage Lottery Fund and Staffordshire County Council.

The Heritage Lottery Fund donated £2.85 million that paid for an interactive exhibition that previews the Arboretum and shows an introduction to the concept of Remembrance.

The iconic new building was designed by the prestigious Glenn Howells Architects, and was built by contractors Stepnell.

A timeline allows people to explore how the practice of remembrance has evolved over time – from historic rituals associated with burial mounds, to modern-day services on key dates throughout the year.

There are also a wide variety of interactive activities, such as an immersive film experience, projected onto multiple screens.

The film follows the seasons and will explore why remembering is an important human need.

Visitors’ footsteps will cause digital leaves to be swept aside to reveal poppies and people will have the opportunity to record and upload their own stories to a new national archive through a Memory Booth.

It is hoped the new centre, which is free for visitors, will attract even more visitors.

A sensory play garden will be opening on October 22.

Lt Col David Whimpenny, chairman of the National Memorial Arboretum board, said: “Opening the doors of our new Remembrance Centre to the public marks the culmination of years of hard work and it is fantastic to see our compelling vision become a reality.

“We look forward to welcoming the many thousands of visitors that we are now capable of accommodating, thanks to the new facilities.”

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