Veterans want war memorial to stay in place

By Steve Peacock in Other News

Armed forces veterans have they want Totnes’s war memorial to stay exactly where it is.

But if it has got to move it should be resited in a prominent spot on the Market Square.

Totnes Royal British Legion branch members met to discuss the future of the 96-year-old memorial following suggestions it should be moved as part of a major project to regenerate the historically important part of the town centre stretching from High Street to the Guildhall and including the 500-year-old St Mary’s Church.

They concluded that if the memorial had to be moved it should be sited in the Market Square where it would allow larger crowds to take part in the annual Remembrance Sunday parades and services.

Branch chairman Mike Boyle said: ‘It has come to my notice that there are discussions on going to re-site the Totnes war memorial .

“At a recent branch meeting this subject was on the agenda and was fully discussed by members.

“The result of this meeting was that the members would rather the memorial was left where it is, however, if it had to be moved for the benefit of the church, then the only place it could be moved to was the civic square, in place of one of the flowerbeds.

“This would allow the memorial to be publicly sited and at remembrance time the Service of Remembrance could be held in the civic square, thus allowing more people to take part in the service and there would no longer be any requirement to close roads.

“This proposals would undoubtedly be more agreeable to all parties and should be given serious consideration.”

The Royal British Legion branch has some 25 members and annually organises the Remembrance Sunday service and parade around the war memorial and the Poppy collection which last year raised just under £10,000 in the town.

The war memorial was built in 1921 – three years after the First Wold War armistice.

It is sited just outside the entrance to St Mary’s Church and bears the names of more than 100 men who died in both the First and Second World Wars.

Mr Boyle said the future of the memorial had been discussed by legion members after the possible resiting had been brought to their attention by members of the public.

St Mary’s Church Parochial Church Council and the Totnes Trust – with the backing of the town council – have just completed a consultation exercise asking people what changes they would like to see both inside and outside the church.

During the consultation there werre exhibitions held in the church.

A number of people suggested moving the war memorial as part of a future project aimed at making the church more community friendly and also transforming the space around the church into a heritage site of national importance.

At last week’s town council operation’s committee meeting, Totnes Trust spokesman Louis Victory outlined how the consultation was proceeding towards a project designed to “enhance” the town centre square area in front of St Mary’s Church, the churchyard, along Ramparts Walk and the Guildhall.

It is hoped to put together sketch proposals for the project which could go out for consultation this autumn or winter, before final designs and prepared and costed.

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