War memorials in shut church will be remembered

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Ardchattan could get a replacement war memorial for the one locked up inside Achnaba church.

The community council heard earlier this month that contact had been made with the War Graves Commission which was ‘positive’ about being able to help with a replacement.

The doors to the lochside church were shut in January for good after 182 years because of straitened financial circumstances.

Although it was decided to sell the church, it is still not on the market.

Church elder John Campbell said he believed the hold-up had been some kind of ‘technical issue’ to do with the rules and regulations of selling a church-owned property.

This week a Church of Scotland spokeswoman said the sale of the kirk had now been approved by the Presbytery of Argyll and confirmed the building would be advertised in a few weeks.

The church had to lock up the building over security reasons, the spokeswoman added, but that means people cannot visit the memorial to pay their respects.

‘Because the church has no minister and the building, which is B-listed, has been closed for security reasons, the war memorial is not as accessible to the public as we would like it to be,’ said the spokeswoman.

‘Once a suitable location has been found, however, we can apply to the local authority for permission to move the war memorial. We would be happy to explore any suitable suggestions with the community council.’

There are two rolls of honour in the church remembering the 39 men from the parish who gave their lives in the Great War and the Second World War. There is also a stone oval plaque in memory of Ensign John Peter Fraser who died near Ellore, Madras, on March 21, 1948, and was the third son of the Reverend H Fraser of the Ardchattan Free Church.

Other Church of Scotland properties on the market include The Manse at Appin looking for offers of more than £320,000. Set in its own grounds, the listed building has potential for five bedrooms.

Kilmartin Church Hall near Lochgilphead has a price tag of over £70,000 and is currently under offer, so is Inverlussa Parish Church at Achnamara which was previously seeking offers of around £50,000.