REFURBISHMENT of Portland's Cenotaph and the American War Memorial in Victoria Gardens has now started.

The work on the Cenotaph, honouring the island's dead of two world wars and the US memorial to the American forces who left Portland on their way to the Normandy Beaches in 1944, will be carried out by Messrs Humphries and Jones of Crewkerne.

The American Memorial, unveiled in 1945 by the then American Ambassador John Winant, has suffered from a build-up of dirt and algae which will be cleaned up and the copper stains, which arise from the bronze panel, will be removed.

The Cenotaph, at which the community gathered for the first time on November 11, 1926, and stood in respectful silence while old soldier ex-private Crispin removed the flags which draped it, will also undergo thorough cleaning along with the lettering on it being re-gilded and re-painted.

Weymouth & Portland Borough Council is funding the repairs to the Cenotaph and, in order for both memorials to be repaired at the same time, Portland Court Leet are fully funding the American Memorial repairs at a cost of £1,092.

Rowland Reynolds, Bailiff of Portland Court Leet, said: "The Portland Court Leet is very pleased to be fully funding the American Memorial work to benefit the local community."

Doug Hollings, brief holder for environment and sustainability, said: "I am delighted that these crucial repairs are now taking place and that funding from Portland Court Leet has allowed the American Memorial repairs to coincide with repairs to the Cenotaph.

"It's great news for the local community as these memorials are part of the island's rich history and it is important that we look after them."

Representing Court Leet, foreman Terry Graham was present at the Heights along with Coun Hollings and town mayor Tim Munro to witness the start of the project.

In reference to the American Memorial Mr Graham said: "Court Leet is enthusiastic about this whole project and, as the memorial is sited on part of the Crown Estate, we felt that it is our obligation to fund the work being carried out on it."

Coun Munro said: "Weymouth and Portland Borough Council responded to the request made by the Portland Partnership that the Cenotaph should be restored to a fitting state as befits the people it commemorates."