Crowds expected at Norwich Memorial Gardens re-opening tomorrow

Crowds are expected to head into Norwich tomorrow afternoon for the long-awaited unveiling of the newly-restored Memorial Gardens.

The gardens above Norwich Market and the new sculpture by Paul de Monchaux, whose work includes the Wilfred Owen memorial, the BBC Churchill memorial, and the memorial to Second World War slave workers in Jersey, will be formally opened to the public at 2pm.

Everyone is invited to attend the re-opening ceremony.

A Second World War veteran and a serving soldier are set to unveil the new-look gardens, which are re-opening more than six years after they were closed.

The council closed the gardens to the public in November 2004 after engineers identified defects within the structure.

The �2.6m project has seen the war memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, also responsible for The Cenotaph in London, restored and turned around so it faces City Hall,

The war memorial itself was officially rededicated on Armistice Day last year, but the building supporting the memorial gardens has been repaired and new ramps put in to allow disabled access.

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Finance for the scheme fell through several times but the city council secured the cash for the project after an innovative tie-up with the Homes and Community Agency, the government's national housing and regeneration body, which resulted in an �8m investment into Norwich.

The city council worked with English Heritage to ensure every stone was put back exactly as it was before, preserving the important Grade II* listed building for future generations.

Norwich City Council worked on the scheme with architects NPS Property Consultants, construction company RG Carters, landscape architects The Landscape Partnership, construction consultants Stirling Maynard, and stonemasons Fairhaven and Woods.

• See tomorrow's Evening News for a special eight-page souvenir supplement on the Memorial Gardens.