HELENSBURGH’s war memorial will be open for Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday commemorations this month.

That’s the promise made by the Friends of Hermitage Park with four weeks to go until the annual commemoration of the Burgh war heroes who gave their lives in the service of their country.

A major £3.3 million refurbishment project, which started in the park in February, is now halfway towards completion, and most of the memorial restoration work is now complete.

And while not everything will be complete by the dates of next month’s commemorations, both the Friends and Argyll and Bute Council have promised that the memorial will be available for the annual acts of remembrance.

The Royal British Legion Scotland and the council will be providing safe access through the park over the memorial weekend where landscaping works are ongoing.

Most of the work on the memorial itself is complete, and the restored gates and refurbished reflecting pond will be open by Saturday, November 11.

Fiona Baker, chair of the Friends, said additional work had been identified in the course of repairs to the memorial.

She said: “With a project such as this it is only to be expected that once the work starts new problems and areas requiring repair will emerge.

“Of course a contingency sum was set aside in the budget to cover such eventualities and War Memorials Trust have kindly given us an additional grant.

“Working closely with the council we are taking a ‘belt and braces’ approach to the repair and restoration of the war memorial.

“We know how important it is to the town, and while of course the additional works will take longer and cost more, we are sure everyone will want it to be done properly and all issues addressed.”

The £3.3m restoration was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Parks for People initiative (£2.3m), the Sustran’s Community Links programme (£300,000), the council’s own reserves (£280,000), the Armed Forces Covenant Fund (£253,000), War Memorials Trust (£80,000) and the Friends of Hermitage Park Association (£20,000).

The funding has volunteer support estimated to be worth £102,090.

Fiona said: “Once teams started to work on the various aspects of the park it became apparent that some parts were going to require more investment than initially thought.

“The north wall, for example, cost £75,000, as it had to be rebuilt rather than repaired, and the south and west walls still need work which will cost another few thousands.”

The War Memorials Trust have given an additional £20,000 towards the north wall repairs.

Phase two of the work is set to begin on November 13 and will include yew replacement, replanting perimeter beds, replacement stone works to the cupola – which will involve the scaffolding going back up after Armistice Day – and adding seating to the garden and benches representing the Army, Royal Navy, RAF and civilians.

The Friends of Hermitage Park is appealing for donations from members of the public who would like to invest in “future proofing” the park.