This article was originally published in the August 2016 edition of our newsletter, Pontefract Voice.

After two years of hard effort and negotiation with various stakeholders, and weeks of hard graft for the craftsmen involved, Pontefract Civic Society was able to deliver a fitting Magna Carta monument for the town and its many visitors.

We were fortunate to have Michael Sayles Fox, Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, and  a former Pomfretian, as our principle guest, together with Cllr Denise Jeffery, Yvette Cooper MP and pupils from our first Junior Civic Society member, Carleton Park J&I School, who gave a very accomplished  reading between them, explaining what the Magna Carta was all about. The ceremony was hosted by Peter Cookson, Honorary President, and at the time the monument was conceived was our elected Chair.

After the ribbon cutting and photographs, all guests including civic society members and other group representatives took refreshments in the Nelson Room of Pontefract Town Hall, where Mrs Elma Mangnall read a poem, “Magna Carta” by Marriott Edgar, and our Chair and Magna Carta Monument Project Manager, Paul Cartwright, closed proceedings ensuring everyone involved was thanked.

Reference was made to Malcolm Macaskill’s legacy which contributed significantly to financing the project through Pontefract Civic Society, to which WMDC, Harworth Estates and a small number of individuals contributed. The craftsmen, Charlie Kershaw (carvings) and Clive Preston (stonemason/builder), were equally thanked.

The reception included display boards from the civic society, and we were fortunate to have one of the first secret ballot boxes on show, thanks to David Evans from Pontefract Museum – a further link between Pontefract, Magna Carta, and our nation’s democracy.

The only remaining task is to design, purchase and install an interpretation board, similar to that at All Saint’s Church. Donations are still being accepted for the project as a whole, so please contact Paul Cartwright if you wish to contribute.