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12 December 2011, 12:01
A campaign to raise £26,000 for a memorial bell to be used when repatriations go through RAF Brize Norton has hit its total.
The Royal British Legion says the 664lb bell from Whitechapel Bell Foundry will go in a permanent tower in the memorial garden in Carterton along the repatriation route.
Staff and councillors at West Oxfordshire District Council donated £2,000 to the campaign. It was raised through a 'dress down day', donations and a contribution from the Chairman's charitable fund.
Lee Mackie, whose son Jason was killed in Afghanistan in 2009, came up with the idea after thinking about her son's repatriation in Wootton Bassett.
"When the town bell started sounding it was time for people to stop and reflect and it added a huge dimension to the whole event."
Mrs Mackie added that support for the campaign had been great:
"We are in a recession and people are forever being asked to put their hands in their pockets. I am eternally grateful for the support that we have had so far and people have been generous.
"I really appreciate the support and hopefully we will achieve our goal and go ahead and have the bell done."
Steve Radband, whose son is currently serving in Afghanistan and who visited Whitechapel Bell Foundry, said:
"We listened to a number of bells during our visit and as soon as I heard the bell we’ve selected I knew it was the right one. We just want to raise the money as soon as possible now."
On September 1st 2011 RAF Brize Norton took over responsibility for military repatriations from RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire.