Future of Falklands war memorial is under review

Uncertain future: The Welsh Guards' Stone at Chorley cenotaph, Astley Park

Uncertain future: The Welsh Guards' Stone at Chorley cenotaph, Astley Park

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The future of a war memorial which was donated to Chorley by a wealthy businessman is under review.

The Welsh Guards’ Stone, which is located at the cenotaph in Astley Park, includes the names of those who died during the Falklands War in 1982, but no Chorley men are included on it.

Now, leaders behind the Chorley Pals and Chorley Remembers projects are seeking to bring all the names of Chorley soldiers who lost their lives fighting in the world’s major conflicts to the park.

This could mean the removal of the current stone.

Steve Williams, secretary for the Chorley Remembers project, said: “One option we’re looking at is to relocate the Welsh Guards’ Stone, because its relevance to the area is under question.

“We want to improve the cenotaph and the stone will look well out of place when we do that. People look at it and think the soldiers are from Chorley, but we think it would perhaps be better positioned with the Welsh Guards themselves.”

Chorley Council originally gave permission for local businessman Martin Kevill to put the memorial near the cenotaph in 2004.

He’d previously made headlines in the national press after giving up his £300,000 house to a children’s charity.

The former Welsh Guards’ officer then famously moved into a shed at the bottom of the garden of Gradewell Farm near Leyland.

Now, the two-year Heritage Lottery funded Chorley Remembers scheme could result in his stone being shifted from its spot, and Steve said there are a number of ideas as to what should become of it.

“We’re thinking it could either be given to the Welsh Guards’ Association, moved to somewhere else in Chorley, or moved to another location in Astley Park,” he said. “This will all go to public consultation before anything happens though.”

Resident Neil Whittaker, who was a Warrant Officer in the army and spent eight years in Northern Ireland, supports the idea to replace the memorial with one more relevant to Chorley.

He said: “Being an ex-military man of long service, I am aware of the importance of a memorial but there is no Chorley men on this one.

“With the greatest respect to the dead and Martin Kevill, I think that the idea by Chorley Council to have this stone placed in the area of the Chorley cenotaph was a mistake.”

Coun John Walker, who oversees the Astley Park memorial for Chorley Council, said: “The cenotaph we already have in Astley Park doesn’t have the names of all Chorley residents who lost their lives in conflicts over the years, so the Chorley Remembers project is all about finding a way to make sure they are all included and never forgotten.

“We are working closely with the group but we are literally just looking at what options are available at the moment. Once we have a better idea about what the new memorial might look like we will ask local people, many who will have relatives who lost their lives for their country, what they think of the plans before anything is decided.”