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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Threat to hand back MBE in Millom cenotaph row

A COMMUNITY stalwart has threatened to hand back his MBE in protest at cuts to a memorial’s maintenance budget.

Peter Chesher was awarded an MBE in 2010 for community work but has threatened to return his honour after Copeland Borough Council said they were unable to pay for the upkeep of flowerbeds at the war memorial in Millom due to council cuts.

Mr Chesher, of Haverigg, has already collected in the region of 200 to 300 signatures for the council to help fund the upkeep of the memorial.

Around 30 people turned out to stage a 271-second silent protest at the war memorial in Station Road, Millom, as part of Armed Forces Day on Saturday.

Mr Chesher said: “I am considering it (handing back his MBE) but I wouldn’t like to have to go through with it.

“My family have links to the British Army going back to the Indian uprising – my dad’s great uncle was awarded medals for his service.

“I know we are in austere times but this is a cut too far.

“There were people at the protest on Saturday who it meant a lot more for than me and they were upset. This is a gateway to the town. If they won’t compromise then I will say you can have the MBE back.”

Karen Jackson-Smith helped organise Saturday’s protest.

She said: “We think Copeland should pay for the upkeep of the memorial and they should contribute in some way, shape, or form.

“We always say there is no ‘M’ for Millom in the Copeland alphabet.”

Mrs Jackson-Smith said the idea to hold a 271-second silence marked each of Millom’s war dead.

She added: “This is the entrance to the town.

“Both my granddads served in the military – this is something that is close to my heart.”

Pat Graham, Copeland’s director of services said: “We have been in positive discussions with a number of community organisations regarding the maintenance of areas where the council is no longer to offer the same service as we used to, due to the huge budget cuts we’ve faced.

“We recognise that these spaces are important to the community and are keen – where possible – to work with community groups.”

Have your say

Maybe the Mail could/should find out who pays for the maintenance of cenotaphs in the Whitehaven/Workington area.

Posted by William Wooleyback on 5 July 2013 at 11:04

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