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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 September, 2003, 07:43 GMT 08:43 UK
Deal bomb memorial 'safe'
Monday's memorial service
The garden hosted Monday's annual memorial service
The site of a memorial garden for 11 Royal Marines musicians killed by an IRA bomb will not be built on, a council has promised.

The garden was built to pay tribute to the victims of the explosion in Deal, Kent, in 1989.

A development featuring flats is planned for the site after a fire tore through the derelict concert hall in May.

But Dover District Council has promised families of the victims the memorial will not be lost.

The 15lb bomb exploded in the Royal Marines' concert hall in Canada Road on the morning of 22 September 1989, while the musicians were practising there.

This spot holds a very private place in my heart, the families' hearts and the hearts of the marines themselves
Jane Walker, victim's sister

A memorial service was held at the site on Monday, the 14th anniversary of the bombing, as it has been each year since the deaths.

The Royal Marines School of Music was moved from Deal in the 1990s with some of the barracks buildings made into flats.

The fire on 19 May destroyed much of the concert hall and damaged the garden, with a plaque commemorating the events removed for repairs.

It sparked fears for the future of the memorial site but the plaque was replaced in time for Monday's service and the garden tidied.

Relatives and the marines have been consulted about moving the memorial to a bandstand, in a public space near the town's beach.

But they told the BBC they were worried about losing a private space to remember the victims.

A wreath from Royal Marines in Scotland
Many of those killed in the explosion were teenagers

Jane Walker, whose brother died in the bombing, said: "This is the place where the bomb went off.

"I visited here the day after and what it means is immeasurable.

"This spot holds a very private place in my heart, the families' hearts and the hearts of the marines themselves.

"The bandstand is not a private area, the families and friends need a quiet space."

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Davis, Principal Director of Music for the Royal Marines said he would back the families' wishes.

Councillor Paul Watkins, council leader, revealed the authority would be ensuring the garden remained while the development went on around it.

He said: "This memorial is owned by Dover District Council and will be maintained by Dover District Council in perpetuity."

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21 May 00  |  UK News


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