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  Friday, 21 July, 2006
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Carillon to honour soldiers who liberated Netherlands
Fri, July 21, 2006
By RYAN CUREATZ, FREE PRESS REPORTER


London artist Gerard Pas shows off the 18-bell carillon memorial he designed to be erected in Victoria Park, while Julie DeVries of London, treasurer of the veterans' memorial committee, uses a hammer to check out the sound of the Holland-made bells at Abuma Manufacturing Ltd. on Admiral Drive. The memorial commemorates Canada's liberation of the Netherlands and is intended as a permanent way for area Dutch citizens and descendants to show their gratitude. (KEN WIGHTMAN The London Free Press)

The bells for a memorial carillon in Victoria Park, planned to commemorate Canada's liberation of the Netherlands, have arrived in London.

Cast at a 250-year-old foundry in the Netherlands, the 18 bronze-alloy bells were unveiled yesterday at Abuma Manufacturing Ltd., where the carillon will be assembled before its unveiling Sept. 22.

"Victoria Park is a park with many civic activities and a carillon will embellish those activities," said Harry Coumans, a member of the veterans memorial committee behind the monument.

The group includes Dutch ex-patriates and their descendants in the London region, where many moved after the Second World War.

They decided the monument would be a permanent way to show gratitude to Canadian soldiers who liberated their tiny country from German occupation during the war.

The bells will hang from three stainless steel rings attached to an eight-metre pole embossed with maple leaves.

A V-shaped piece of black granite with the word "victory" on it will lie beside the carillon, forming a broken "N" with another stone bearing various engravings.

Gerard Pas, a London artist of Dutch background, designed the monument.

"From the brokenness of war, you can find victory (and) healing" and "liberty from a fascist regime," he said of the monument's symbolism.

The rings at the top of the carillon are like the ripples in a pond, Pas said.

"The gift the Canadian soldiers gave (created) a ripple in time" that "nurtured a society."

The monument will serve as a reminder "that cost hasn't been ignored, that every life had value," Pas said.

The monument will be located near the cenotaph in Victoria Park. The carillon can play more than 70 tunes, including O Canada and the Dutch national anthem.

The committee is about $30,000 short of raising the $125,000 needed to pay for the monument, Coumans said.

"Our intention is to get small contributions from as many people in the community as possible."

MEMORIAL DONATIONS

- Cheques payable to The Royal Canadian Regiment Trust Fund can be mailed to: Veterans Memorial Fund, 118 Woodrow Cres., London, Ont., N6E 1E8.

- Harry Coumans can be reached at 519-472-4872.

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