A Perth church is hoping to bring a “lost” war memorial back into the public eye.
Riverside Church was formed in 2000 and covers the parish formerly served by St Andrew’s and St Stephen’s on Atholl Street.
A carving bearing the names of the 39 men from the area killed during the First World War remains inside the building which is now owned by the YMCA and is currently hidden from view.
James Christie, treasurer at Riverside, said he would like to see the memorial rehoused in a special garden. He said members of the church felt compelled to get involved after it was brought to their attention by councillor Alan Grant, who is chairman of the committee of the Friends of Perth and Kinross Archive.
“He was concerned about the future of the memorials,” Mr Christie said. “When we went to see them we realised we’d have to do something.
“I feel we’ve got a responsibility as a parish church for the north of Perth, where these men came from. I feel strongly that the community should remember these men.
“The 39 men on the memorials were locals and it’s our responsibility as a community to remember them. I think Riverside Church is in a great position in North Muirton to provide some sort of memorial garden on Bute Drive incorporating the plaques.
“We want to find as many of the relatives as possible and see what they think would be right.
“If Riverside Church doesn’t do something with these memorials, I don’t know what future they will have. It’s totally unacceptable that they should be lost and we’re determined to do the right thing and honour these men.”
Saving the memorials is a personal mission for Mr Christie, whose grandfathers both survived the First World War, and whose father served in the Second World War.
“My father fought at the Battle of Arnhem the Bridge Too Far battle and my wife and I went to the Netherlands for the 70th anniversary this time last year,” he said.
“There was a memorial service at the war cemetery and every grave had one child assigned to it. There were hundreds and hundreds of children flooding into the cemetery, each with a bunch of flowers. Each child stood by the grave of a soldier, and when they got the sign, they all held their flowers up in the air, then placed them on the grave.
“The Dutch didn’t do this because it was the 70th anniversary. They do it every single year, and they’ve been doing it ever since 1945.
“If they can do as much for men who weren’t even Dutch, we should maybe be doing a bit more as a community to remember our men who went off to fight and die for the freedom we have today.
“We certainly shouldn’t be letting these memorials gather dust in an old building where no one can see them.”