Thame Youth Memorial – some questions answered
Who is the Memorial for ?
It has been commented that we should be investing in the living rather than the dead, and we wouldassert that this is precisely our intention. To individual families and friends the memorial will representwhatever helps to comfort them, but to the community as a whole it will be a place of reflection and inspiration. It shows that people care, it contributes to the cultural wellbeing of the community, and it is a
reminder that life is transitory and should be lived to the full.
Where will it be?
Thame Town Council have allocated a prominent site within the existing memorial gardens, situated within the centre of Thame. The Council have also entered a Partnering Agreement with the Trust to enable delivery of the project.
What is the design?
The garden design includes soft and hard landscaping around a water feature or infinity pool with a white marble figure at one end and circular benches at the other. Set into the hard landscaping is a black granite ribbon wrapping around the pool and statue in a figure of eight or infinity shape. Along the ribbon will be engraved the names of those persons who their families wish to be commemorated. A further granite plaque will show the dedication as Thame Youth Memorial. Please visit www.thameyouthmemorial.org for plans.
Who will be eligible to be included ?
The charity was established to enable the installation of a fitting memorial as a place of reflection and remembrance to the lost youth of Thame and its surrounding villages. We have deliberately avoided setting any strict rules or boundaries as it is intended to be as inclusive as possible and should be what
those who take comfort from it see it to be.
What do you mean by ‘Youth’ ?
Our expectation is that the term youth loosely describes those who are beyond childhood and who have established some degree of independent spirit, but who do not yet have families of their own, so probably generally in the age range 11 – 25 but with some flexibility according to circumstances.
What do you mean by ‘Thame and its surrounding villages’ ?
Basically anyone who identifies closely with Thame for a substantial part of their life – so it would include the catchment area of Lord Williams’s School and all of the villages which naturally consider Thame as their focal town. It would include those who have grown up in the area, been educated in the area, or who lived in the area at the time of their demise but, additionally, would be extended to anyone
from elsewhere who happened to lose their life locally and whose family and friends would appreciate somewhere to visit to reflect upon their loss.
How will the Memorial be paid for?
Thame Youth Memorial Trust have been fundraising for 2½ years and have raised over £30K from within the community. Fund raising will continue but we will be seeking donations from grant making bodies both local and national to achieve our target of £40K.
Is it only for Road Accident victims ?
Some people have also gained the impression that the memorial is specifically for those who lost their life in road accidents, but this is certainly not the case. The cause of death has little to do with the impact it has on those who care and there is absolutely no intention to be judgmental on such grounds. Youth tragedies of which we are already aware include illnesses, cancer, suicides and, of course, too many road accidents.
Who will decide if a name is to be included ?
The Trustees of the Thame Youth Memorial Trust will be the final arbiters regarding eligibility but will strive to be as inclusive as possible within reasonable expectations. This will only happen in response to a specific request. We have no intention of contacting families ourselves. It is not our place to intrude on
What will be on the Epitaphs ?
The Memorial Garden installation will include an Infinity Band around the water feature, on which families will have the opportunity of requesting a tribute. Where epitaphs are requested they will be of a standard format in terms of size, style, and content in order to ensure an appropriate level of dignity and
What will be the legacy?
The Youth Memorial will help to promote the cultural wellbeing of Thame and its surrounding villages, and will ensure that those who have died too young will not be forgotten. It will provide a focal point of remembrance as a solace to those who have been directly affected by such a loss, but also be a mark of the community’s respect for the younger generation, and generally as a peaceful haven for thought and reflection. The very fact of a dedicated Youth Memorial and Garden acknowledging that too many are taken too young may in itself help to promote awareness that these things happen and if, as a result, fewer lives are lost then it will have more than served its purpose.
What are the Trust’s objectives?
The initial objective of the Trust is to deliver a memorial to the lost youth of Thame, and to make provision for its future upkeep and maintenance, but once this has been achieved it is intended that the Trust will work in associated areas. There is a need for support and understanding for those affected by the death of a young family member or friend and we are already seeking input from health professionals and other voluntary groups to enable the charity to become a natural point of reference in the event of future tragedies, and to act as a signpost to more professional services where required.
Being more proactive, it is also planned that the Trust will work with local schools, health providers, and youth groups to help fund and facilitate such things as cycle proficiency training, road safety, drug awareness programmes, and anything else that can help to reduce youth mortality.