Fury at wrongly-placed memorial tiles

By Richard SmithAN elderly brother and sister paid almost £300 to buy bricks in memory of their family and raise money for the restoration of a town's Shire Hall.

By Richard Smith

AN elderly brother and sister paid almost £300 to buy bricks in memory of their family and raise money for the restoration of a town's Shire Hall.

But when Peter Lilley, 76, and Vera Newson, 89, visited the newly-laid Seckford Square in front of the Shire Hall in Woodbridge they were furious to find that the bricks had not been laid to instructions.

They were both born above their father's butcher's shop by the historic building and have lived in the town all their lives. They were pleased to support the town council's fundraising campaign to ask the public to buy single or double bricks to fund the restoration.

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The couple each paid £140 to have two double bricks with inscriptions detailing the family's names and links with Woodbridge.

Mr Lilley asked that his two bricks were paired together and put as close to 20 Market Hill as possible. This is where their father, Charles Lilley, ran a shop for many years from 1914 and the premises are now the Little Mermaid.

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Mrs Newson's late husband, John, was a foreman with Ingram Smith builders in the town and he was responsible for turning the Shire Hall into council offices. The couple were married 58 years and she asked for her bricks to be paired.

But the family's bricks are scattered randomly - although Mr Lilley has a letter from the marketing company handling the brick orders and it states the bricks would be paired.

Mr Lilley said: "We are very sorry that the bricks have not been put together as a family. The point now is that the bricks have been cemented in and I suppose it would be a hell of an expense to relay them. I do not think I feel that vicious about it that they should do it again.

"But quite honestly I am disgusted. I had a word with the people in the Shire Hall and they said 'If you saw the people laying the bricks you should have had a word with them', but you cannot do that otherwise you would have every Tom, Dick and Harry talking to them.''

Mrs Newson added: ''We thought the fundraising was a good idea and that it would be lovely for future generations to look back at the names, but I am disgusted that the family is not put together. We were not requesting anything out of the ordinary.''

Chris Walker, town council clerk, said she was sorry the family was upset, but added it had never made a guarantee that people's preferences about the location of their bricks could be taken into account.

''We have more than 400 bricks there and we could not accommodate people's wishes. If people wanted them near a tree or a shop it would have opened the floodgates for requests.

''We have had a lot of positive feedback and now that people have seen the bricks laid we have had more interest from people wanting one."

The town council is hoping a celebrity will officially open the Seckford Square. The restoration costs are a controversial issue and the council is committed to paying a £150,000 loan over 10 years towards the £260,000 required for the work. The latest fundraising scheme is a lottery.


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