203Bishop Auckland’s war memorial is to be restored and will also now pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the Afghanistan conflict.

With the agreement of the Ministry of Defence, after the formal end of the conflict in 2014, an inscription will be added to the memorial dedicated to the brave soldiers who died during the conflict between 2001 and 2014.

As well as the new dedication, the memorial in Bishop Auckland Market Place will also be repaired, restored and cleaned in advance of Remembrance Sunday. As custodian of the memorial, the work has been commissioned and funded by Durham County Council.

The Bishop Auckland war memorial is different from many such tributes as it lists wars and conflicts rather than naming the fallen. It is believed that this is due to the high numbers of people from Bishop Auckland who were killed during the First World War.

Cllr Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration and culture, said: “The special nature of the Bishop Auckland war memorial is testament to the sacrifices made by the people of the town. So it’s fitting that the memorial is not only updated to recognise the service of those who tragically lost their lives in the Afghanistan conflict but also that the memorial is fully restored so it can continue to act as a fitting tribute to all of those brave men and women of Bishop Auckland through the years.”

Work starts this week which will see the memorial cleaned and damage from water seepage repaired. It will also be re-pointed to protect against any further damage and, as well as the new dedication, the existing inscriptions will be re-gilded to return the memorial to its former glory.