PROGRESS to repair the tallest three sided obelisk in the world is being made right on Taunton’s doorstep.

The important historic building was first proposed in 1815 to mark the Duke of Wellington’s victory at the Battle of Waterloo.

The designer for the building was chosen through an architectural competition who originally wanted the structure to be a pillar on a plinth, as well as a cast iron statue of the Duke.

But building work halted when the funds ran dry. A compromise was made and the project was completed with just the pillar in place.

In 1846 lightning struck and local architect Charles Giles declared the structure a public danger.

He redesigned the building and after repairs in 1892 the shaft was extended to the height we see today - leaving us with our Wellington Monument.

Throughout the monument’s whole time on the Blackdown Hills, it’s needed repair and restoration work, and this hasn’t changed since the National Trust took over management of the structure in 1934.

The Trust has recently launched a £4million campaign in order to carry out urgent repairs and restore the monument to its former glory.

The bid for the money was started by the Trust in 2016, and they’ve since raised around half of the funding needed to restore the building.

Somerset County Gazette: LANDMARK: Wellington Monument

LANDMARK: Wellington Monument

It was announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement the monument would be receiving £1million in LIBOR funding, money which comes from £102million worth of banking fines. Other applications for funding have been turned down, including a bid to the Heritage Lottery fund.

But the dedicated monument team has not let the setbacks dampen momentum.

Helen Sharp, Wellington Monument project manager for the National Trust, said: “We have raised half the money so far, but the remaining £2m needed is an ambitious target.

“We are hugely grateful for all the help and support we’ve already received including from our volunteers and Wellington Town Council. We’re going to need to keep working together if we are to hit this target.

“The monument is deteriorating. Our intention is to start work on the most damaged parts and repair the top third as well as correct the bulging north face and continue to work down while we fundraise.

“If we can raise enough money, the repairs will reach ground level and we will be able to safely reopen the monument to visitors once more.”

Ms Sharp added how Taunton Deane’s MP, Rebecca Pow, has been ‘instrumental’ in securing funding so far, and said the trust would not have been successful in applying for the £1million in LIBOR funding without her.

To tackle the remaining shortfall, the National Trust has employed a new community fundraiser to try and boost fundraising efforts.

Emma Jones, the new ‘monument girl’, was introduced to Wellington Town Council during its September meeting.

Somerset County Gazette: EXCITED: Helen Sharp and Emma Jones from the National Trust

EXCITED: Helen Sharp and Emma Jones from the National Trust

Emma’s role, which is the first of its kind within the Trust, will be to hold fundraising events and to raise awareness of the restoration project within the town and further afield.

“I love the monument,” she said.

“And I love conservation work.

“So far we’ve had children from the area attending our family events, but also people travelling all the way from London after reading about the events in the National Trust magazine.

“I want to get people back up there with their picnics and spending a good few hours there.

“People are only going to get excited about what’s going on, and they will only give funds, if they like what we are doing.”

Alongside her events, Emma plans to put fundraising tins throughout the town as well as having a pop-up stand.

She added: “There will be some really fun and different things going on.”

Emma told the councillors how during one of her events a visitor offered a £50 donation just to touch the monument.

After meeting the new fundraiser, the councillors agreed how enthusiastic Emma seemed to get the job done.

Cllr Bob Bowrah, who is the town council’s monument champion, said: “It’s clear Emma is very enthusiastic and I support her whole heartedly.”

Cllr Marcus Barr suggested he could participate in Wellington Carnival carrying around a collection tin.

The council has considered giving money to the project at a meeting earlier this year, but deferred their decision until they met the new fundraising offer.

Cllr John Thorne suggested the council now commit to donating a sizeable sum as a sign of support.

He said: “It’s time to put our money where our mouth is. I propose we give £10,000 to kick start the fundraising.”

The councillors unanimously agreed to donated the money to support plans to revive the important structure.

Ms Pow was out with the new fundraising officer at the annual eat:Wellington food festival on Saturday, September 1.

She lent her support to raising awareness for the project.

She said: “It is so important that funding is attracted to preserve our history and heritage for future generations.”

For more information on upcoming events and how to get involved with fundraising visit