A PILLBOX built to defend Whitchurch from escaped prisoners of war has officially reopened.

The defensive position lies at the bottom of Alun Rees’ garden, in Lynch Hill Park, facing what was a prisonerof- war camp during the Second World War near the town’s station.

On Saturday, Sir George Young, MP for North West Hampshire, opened the pillbox in front of a crowd of well-wishers, including former Arctic Convoy veteran Roy Dykes.

A piece of artwork was also retrieved from the pillbox to remember the 31 men from the town who died during the Second World War.

Sir George said: “Originally, there were 40,000 of these pillboxes and now there are only 6,000 left, and it’s important that we keep a few to remind us that there was a real threat of invasion.”

Local artist Graham Burgess had the idea to renovate the pillbox and oversaw the work that took place earlier this year.

Vegetation was removed from on top and around the pillbox, while conifers were removed so that the pillbox can be seen from people on Newbury Road.

Mr Rees has lived in the house with his family for 29 years.