Cenotaph snub fury

PHOTO. KEVIN McGUINNESS.'Councillor Alison Hansford with some of the veterans who are opposing changes to the war memorial in Astley Park, Chorley
PHOTO. KEVIN McGUINNESS.'Councillor Alison Hansford with some of the veterans who are opposing changes to the war memorial in Astley Park, Chorley

A boundary row threatens to overshadow plans for a war memorial in Chorley.

Representatives from the Chorley Royal British Legion, Chorley and District Ex-Servicemen Association and Royal British Legion Bikers Association met last week to discuss the new designs for the cenotaph which have been put up by the Chorley Remembers Project.

Last week, the Guardian reported that the organisers had received a grant from the Heritage Lottery to place the names of the fallen from Chorley onto a new memorial in Astley Park.

However, local officials from the services are outraged at news that only names of people from Chorley town centre will appear on the monument.

Coun Alison Hansford, who represents the Wheelton ward, added: “In 1974, the only village recognised was Astley Village and that is a concern because so many people have given their time in war.

“There is one example in my ward where one of the soldiers was not recognised.”

Ken Smyth of the Royal British Legion echoed the point.

He said: “Everybody should be recognised on the monument whether they lived in a village or not.

“Some Catholic people who lived in Brindle who served during the war did not get recognised.

“I think they should be on the same list .”

Meanwhile Jim McAuley of the Royal British Legion added he attended a meeting with the Chorley Remembers group and he put forward other plans which were ruled out and was told the current scheme was the only one on offer.

Mike Finan of Wheelton and Rural District Royal British Legion said: “There is nothing wrong with what they are proposing.

“But over the years the cenotaph has been there honouring those who served their country.

“It was put up by the people of Chorley and it was all they could afford.

“I think it has been adequate for almost 100 years so why change it now?

“I think we should enhance and improve what is there by just building the stones with names on top of the stones that are on the site.

“That way we are not spending as much money on it by knocking it down and we can have more names of people from Chorley.”

The group have a month to register their concerns about the scheme and have got a group of local surveyors to draw up some alternative designs.

They include putting a plinth on the mound of land for the church officials to lead the Remembrance ceremony so that all servicemen and local dignatries are together facing the cenotaph.

A spokesman for Chorley Remembers said: “The purpose of the project was to ensure that the people of Chorley who had died in active service were given the recognition they deserve on the wall in Astley Park.

“The villages throughout the borough have their own memorials. and if they were put on the new wall they would be duplicated.

“The critieria we are using is that people who died after the boundaries were changed in 1974 then they will be on the wall.”