RENOVATION work on Birkenhead's Cenotaph memorial has ended ahead of next month's Remembrance Day services and in preparation for events commemorating the centenary of the start of the First World War.

The renovation of the 25ft Portland Stone, upon which the eight Green Westmorland slates containing the names of those brave Wirralians who lost their lives during both World Wars represents the final phase of a programme which has completely transformed the memorial grounds in Hamilton Square.

Along with the re-alignment of all the Regimental plaques and the installation of new memorials to remember those who have fallen in more recent conflicts, the work on the Cenotaph completes an environment in front of Birkenhead Town Hall that is well and truly fit for heroes.

The Cenotaph has been in situ in Hamilton Square since July 1925. In recent times, though, the stone had started to look grubby and most of the names inscribed into the slate plaques were difficult to read.

The renovation process involved cleaning the whole structure by 'Soda Blasting'; that is using soda with a small amount of water.

This is non-abrasive, retaining the integrity and detail of the item while removing any dirt.

The re-lettering of the 12,500 characters engraved into the memorial then took place, with the slates being rubbed down and clay added before the names were repainted.

The clay and excess paint was then removed and plaques oiled to preserve the paint. Some of the names had to re-engraved altogether.

Wirral's mayor, Cllr Dave Mitchell, visited the site ahead of next month's Remembrance Day civic services.

He said: "Wirral Council has an ongoing commitment to remembering local people who have lost their lives in conflicts all over the world.

"Over the past few years, as well as the improvements to memorials around the Cenotaph, a new memorial along Woodside Promenade for the 'Cockleshell Heroes' was unveiled last December by Lord Ashdown.

"Other memorials, such as one to remember HMS Birkenhead, which was sunk at Danger Point, in the Western Cape on February 26, 1852, are also in the process of being developed.

"It is very important that we continue to remember these sacrifices made by Wirral people and it is also essential that we show how much we value them by making sure our War Memorials are as well-maintained, clean and presentable as they possibly can be.

"The work done at Hamilton Square is magnificent and I'm also aware of improvement works on war memorials at Rake Lane cemetery, Bebington Cemetery, Central Park (Boer War, Britannia Figure), Prenton, Moreton, Eastham and Bebington."