Memorial to civil war volunteers

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The new memorial to volunteers from North Lanarkshire who fought against Franco in the Spanish Civil War was unveiled on Saturday .

A large crowd, from North Lanarkshire and beyond, gathered at Duchess of Hamilton Park, Motherwell, to witness the ceremony and pay tribute to the courage and commitment of the Volunteers and their supporters.

Relatives of volunteers unveil the memorial including Scott Learmonth (family of James Learmonth from Motherwell), Alex Smith (nephew of Joseph Stevenson from Bellshill), Anne Marie Devanney (family of James Laughran from Motherwell) and Charles Goodfellow (son of Charles Goodfellow from Bellshill).

Relatives of volunteers unveil the memorial including Scott Learmonth (family of James Learmonth from Motherwell), Alex Smith (nephew of Joseph Stevenson from Bellshill), Anne Marie Devanney (family of James Laughran from Motherwell) and Charles Goodfellow (son of Charles Goodfellow from Bellshill).

North Lanarkshire’s provost, Councillor James Robertson, representing the council commended the heroic struggle against fascism.

A number of the relatives of the North Lanarkshire Volunteers unveiled the memorial stone, to spontaneous applause, in what was undoubtedly an emotional part of the ceremony.

Wreaths were laid accompanied by a piper playing.

Speakers included Mike Arnott of the International Brigades Memorial Trust, Willy Maley, Professor of Renaissance Studies at Glasgow University and Daniel Gray, author of Homage to Caledonia –Scotland and the Spanish Civil War.

The memorial stone is inscribed with the words of Dolores Ibarruri (La Pasionaria), the famous Spanish Republican Leader, which praise the ideals, commitment and sacrifice made by the volunteers ‘for the cause of all advanced and progressive mankind’.

The event was organised by the No Pasaran Memorial Committee – North Lanarkshire.

Member Jim Baxter said: “To see such a large crowd, young and old alike, speaks volumes for the inspirational message the volunteers have given of belief and understanding.

“We would like to thank all those who have attended the unveiling, in particular the relatives and we hope that we have been able to place in the heart of our community, here in North Lanarkshire, a worthy and lasting tribute to an exceptional group of men and women.”