War memorial may get facelift

A WAR memorial dedicated to 200 young men who lost their lives in the two world wars could get a £20,000 facelift – just weeks after the monument was desecrated by heartless vandals.

A WAR memorial dedicated to 200 young men who lost their lives in the two world wars could get a £20,000 facelift – just weeks after the monument was desecrated by heartless vandals.

Councillors at St Edmundsbury Borough Council have been urged to give the refurbishment in Haverhill Cemetery the go-ahead following a determined campaign by members of the town's Royal British Legion and backed by West Suffolk MP Richard Spring.

In a report to the council's cabinet, members were told how the monument, dating back to 1920, was not up to a “high enough standard to do justice to Haverhill's war dead”.

Speaking last night, Brian Thomas, vice-chairman of the Haverhill branch, said: “This work is essential as the names of the First World War veterans have now worn off.


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“We have had so many complaints from war veterans in this town and it has not been good enough.

“The memorial and war graves are generally in excellent order but the lettering on the memorial disgusts me.

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“It needs to be redone properly and I would urge councillors to approve the plans without any doubt.”

Members of the Royal British Legion lobbied the borough council calling for improvements to the memorial, which they say has uneven lettering and constantly fades.

West Suffolk MP Richard Spring said: “The cemetery contains the remains of war casualties of many nationalities, is beautifully maintained and is in frequent use.

“It is something Haverhill people quite rightly feel proud of, especially as many family members of those interred or commemorated continue to live in the town.

“For the war veterans and the Royal British Legion, the condition of the names on the war memorial causes considerable distress – something which I, having seen the situation for myself, share with them.

“I really think the least we can do, in these circumstances, is to ensure that those who made the ultimate sacrifice should have their names recorded clearly and enduringly. This is not something that would be costly and, frankly, we should not quibble about the price.”

In a report to the cabinet, members are urged to recommend the £20,000 work so the refurbished monument can be rededicated as part of next year's commemorations of the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

Last month, young vandals smashed up graves at the Suffolk cemetery and started a fire at the memorial – sparking condemnation by veterans and former prisoners of war.

Speaking at the time, widow Ella Flack, 79, told how her husband Alfred's grave had been targeted.

She said: “I was heartbroken and I cried my eyes out. The cemetery is such a sacred place for me and these people have no idea how much distress they have caused.”

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