Time to ensure memorials pay a fitting tribute

EDITOR – As we approach another Remembrance Sunday the number of people alive in Britain who have experienced a world at war has, naturally, lessened.

We must turn our attention to that part of our heritage around which our sentiments at this time of year are focused; our war memorials.

Most war memorials have been with us for around 90 years and in many cases the cracks, quite literally, are starting to show.

Back in 1923 the War Memorials (Local Authorities’ Powers) Act gave councils the power to direct public money at war memorial upkeep should they choose. However, this legislation – which remains in force to this day – never compelled them to do so.

My suggestion for a way forward is the creation of a National War Memorial Restoration Fund; money from central government (i.e. we the taxpayers) being made available to local authorities to spend specifically on war memorial maintenance and improvement.

To be successful, the public needs to make an easy ‘link’ with such a campaign and history has provided us with a golden opportunity to do just that.

The 100th anniversary of the First World War will be upon us in August 2014 and will culminate in the centenary of the Armistice in November 2018 – a relevant deadline by which such an effort could come to fruition. However, planning and decision-making needs to get under way.

Countries such as Belgium and Australia already have well-advanced national plans to mark 2014-2018. Here, a growing number of individual projects are gathering pace, but as a nation we have the chance to influence how many of our towns and villages actually look for years to come.

Let’s harness the outrage we express when war memorials are urinated upon, used as skate parks, sprayed with graffiti or have their plaques stolen.

Let’s remember in the best possible way all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice; by renovating our war memorials, which our forebears constructed in honour of those who died, to their original condition.

Please visit my website www.clean2018.moonfruit.com for details of my idea and sign my e-petition.

Ray Thompson

South View Avenue, Brigg