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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Sit-in protest at Millom war memorial

CAMPAIGNERS against cuts to the upkeep of Millom’s war memorial are continuing their fight.

Copeland Borough Council has confirmed they will no longer maintain flowerbeds around the Cenotaph in Millom.

Public anger about the decision has led residents to accuse the council of “betraying our fallen” and a Facebook group has been set up.

A protest will take place this Saturday at noon to coincide with Armed Forces Day and will involve participants sitting in silence for 271 seconds, to represent the names of 271 servicemen which are inscribed on the cenotaph.

Karen Jackson-Smith, from Millom, started the Facebook group “No Cuts for Millom War Memorial” which has around 200 “likes” so far and describes the site as being in a “disgraceful state”.

“I just think the cenotaph is in a sorry state at the moment, and nobody seems to know what’s happening with it,” she said.

“My son served in the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment and my granddad and great granddad also served in the armed forces. I think with the cenotaph being a war memorial it should be down to the borough council to maintain. I just think it’s disrespectful to Millom’s fallen.”

Care of the untended flowerbeds is set to be taken on by volunteer-run charity Friends of Millom Park.

Millom Town Councillor Joan Hobbs, chairwoman of Friends of Millom Park, said: “The cenotaph means an awful lot to a lot of people. Nobody wants these cuts, but the alternative to us taking it on is to grass over the flowerbeds.

“We want to make sure it looks as though it is cared about, and we will be putting together a working party with the help of the Royal Naval Association and Millom British Legion.”

Pat Graham, Copeland’s director of services, said: “Like our residents, we would like to have kept the same level of service. But the budget reductions – which include eight fewer horticultural staff in summer – limit our activities in discretionary services, and alternative arrangements are being discussed. ”

Anyone interested in joining the working party should call Cllr Hobbs on 01229 774420.

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