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In 2014, many countries in Europe and the rest of the world are commemorating the centenary of the start of the First World War.

There is something about the First World War that makes it a fundamental part of these countries’ national consciousness. The writing, poetry and art of the Great War remain as poignant as ever. The emotional resonance of these words and pictures still speak to us about the sheer tragedy and awfulness of war and of so many precious lives lost. That mixture of horror and courage, suffering and hope has permeated our culture. Current generations are still absolutely transfixed by what happened in the Great War, why it happened, and by the sheer scale of the conflict. As people look back they will either know or, indeed, discover that their family or community was affected by death or injury.

Individually and as nations, we are committed to remembering and commemorating. From The Last Post Association, whose volunteers have played every night at the Menin Gate since 1928, to Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, and from  the Memorial to the Missing, in Belgium, which is the largest British war cemetery in the world, visited by nearly half a million people every year, to the battlefield memorials right across Western Europe.

To mark this significant anniversary, the Government of Flanders has expressed a wish to help create memorial gardens at symbolic locations worldwide. The Flanders Fields soil was specially collected from the former battle fields by schoolchildren and transported to London where it was laid in the Memorial Garden during a special ceremony on 30 November 2013. The aim is to commemorate and honour all those who fought and lost their lives during the Great War. Furthermore, the Flanders Fields memorial gardens are permanent reminders of hope, peace, reconciliation and international solidarity. Since we value the strong bond between the people of the United Kingdom and Belgium, the first memorial garden is being built in London at the Guards Museum and will be opened on 9 November 2014.

In order to realise this project, the Government of Flanders has pledged £100,000 in match funding for the London Flanders Field Memorial Garden 1914-2014. The total cost of the project is £700,000 and the remaining £600,000 is being raised privately through individual and corporate donations.

This is a worthy and deserving project. You too can support us either individually or as a corporate organisation, in cash or in kind. Your urgent response is important in order to raise the remaining £600,000 needed to realise the Flanders Fields Memorial Garden.

Thank you for your invaluable support.