War memorial in Swansea restored with £2.50 permanent marker after original quote of £5,000

The work will be complete by November 11 in time for memorial services. Credit: Action Shack

A war memorial has been restored with a marker pen after being quoted an unaffordable repair price.

The two war memorials, which honour those who served in the First World War, have been rescued by a community group using a £2.50 permanent marker pen.

The Action Shack, a men's shed group which meets once a week within the grounds of St John’s Day Centre in Manselton, Swansea, used their base to house both memorials.

It comes as the group were initially quoted between £3,000 and £5,000 for the restoration work.

As a result, members decided to take it upon themselves to complete the task and instead bought marker pens for £2.50 to re-ink the inscriptions having cleaned off the remaining ink first.

One of the memorials has now been completed and the second one is halfway done with the aim of completing the project by November 11 in time for memorial services.

New frames are being constructed for the stones and a booklet is available for people to look at telling the story of each of the names on the memorial.

Gary Elward, who oversees the group, said: "They wanted crazy amounts of money, £5,000, £3,000, so we just decided to do it ourselves. One of the guys went to carry out some inquiries and we bought three pens worth £2.50 so we paid less than a tenner instead.

"We've had one of the men working on the inscriptions with a steady hand and some of the other boys building the surrounds for it, varnishing it, making sure it's safe. We've been repairing it over the last six weeks. Before that we had to clean them up and mount them. It's all about cleaning them up and making them look good.

"Hopefully November 11 we'll have a service. They'll be protected and mounted within the garden. There's a booklet here with everyone's name and explaining all about them.

"The men's shed has been running for four years now although we had to stop through Covid for a while. We've got about 20 members – a couple of guys who are blind, a couple of guys who are autistic, it's all different abilities.

"Some guys want to come in and sit down and have a chat and find out what's going on in the world and others like to get stuck in and do things, make things. We also build planters and grow veg. St John's runs a food bank so we grow the vegetables for the food bank. We also run a community transport scheme."