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Prime minister donates House of Commons whiskey to Leek man John Lovatt for his fund-raising efforts for a new war memorial.

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: April 18, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

  • John Lovatt MBE with the House of Commons bottle of whiskey which has been donated by the Prime Minister.

  • John Lovatt MBE with the House of Commons bottle of whisky which has been donated by the Prime Minister.

  • John Lovatt MBE with the House of Commons bottle of whiskey which has been donated by the Prime Minister.

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Prime Minister David Cameron has donated a bottle of House of Commons whisky to a Leek man to help his fund-raising efforts for a new war memorial.

Veteran John Lovatt, a member of the Staffordshire Regimental Association, is helping to raise cash for a new war memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire.

Mr Lovatt, aged 78, has been out collecting in the streets and at businesses of Leek with fellow fund-raiser Steve Evans.

So far, the pair have raised between them around £1,300, while the county-wide fund-raising total is so far around £16,000.

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The Staffordshire Regimental Association needs more than £20,000 for the new memorial, which will be replacing another one which is said to be in disrepair.

Mr Lovatt is aiming to auction the bottle of whisky from David Cameron at an association event in May.

The blended scotch whisky, which has been signed by David Cameron, has been bottled for the House of Commons by Gordon and MacPhail of Elgin, Scotland.

He said: "We always have a big event at The Kings Head in Lichfield each year and I am hoping to auction the bottle of whisky there.

"I will be sending a letter of thanks to the Prime Minister for his kind donation and I would also like to thank our MP Karen Bradley for organising it."

He added: "People are being generous to the cause but we need to keep going – £20,000 is needed for the new memorial, but if we gain even more funding we are hoping to have statues of soldiers around it too."

Veterans themselves will be helping to construct the new memorial.

Mr Lovatt said: "I believe this will be the first time that veterans will have built their own memorial.

"It is going to be a memorial for those soldiers serving now in the Three Mercian Staffords, formerly the Staffordshire Regiment."

Mr Lovatt was in the Army for 30 years and served in a number of sections including in the National Service North Staffs, South Staffordshire Regiment, Staffordshire Regiment as a Warrant Officer Two.

He spent time in countries including Korea, Milaya, Bournehill, Haden, Cyprus, East Africa, North Africa, Northern Ireland, and Northern Europe.

He said: "I did see some sights during my time in the Army. I lost three mates in Northern Ireland and I also spent two years in hospital myself after having smashed legs, hips and scared lungs."

Mr Lovatt was awarded an MBE in the 1980s for his part in a special operation in Northern Ireland.

He said of the existing memorial at the site: "It has three flag poles and the flags are in tatters. There is a brick base with bronze on top which is all in bits.

"The new memorial will be unique – it will be a memorial for our Staffordshire heroes."

After a presentation about the new memorial, Leek Town Council agreed to donate £250 towards the new memorial.

Anyone wishing to make a donation or make a bid for the House of Commons whisky, can call John on 01538 383141.

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