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Controversial Sprowston war memorial plaque switch in the spotlight

PUBLISHED: 11:19 12 July 2014 | UPDATED: 11:24 12 July 2014

Rev Simon Stokes with the war memorial at St Cuthbert's Church, Sprowston. 
Photo by Simon Finlay.

Rev Simon Stokes with the war memorial at St Cuthbert's Church, Sprowston. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Controversial proposals to remove plaques from a war memorial came under the spotlight at a public meeting.

The Reverend Canon Simon Stokes, vicar at St Cuthbert’s Church in Wroxham Road, had sparked anger in some quarters when he suggested moving the plaques from the war memorial at the church’s driveway and into the church’s entrance porch.

Critics had attacked the proposal, saying they wanted the plaques to stay where they are - a location they have been in since the 1970s.

Norfolk police even got involved after the vicar contacted them about threats posted on social media, which he reported as a hate crime.

Last night, all sides came together at a public meeting held at Sprowston Senior Citizens Club in Recreation Ground Road, attended by about 50 people.

Mr Stokes told the meeting he had held discussions with the Royal British Legion and Sprowston Heritage Society about the switch - which he said would make the plaques more secure and allow better information about them to be provided.

He said the plaques were copies of the names on the memorial at St Mary and St Margaret’s Church and had been moved in the past.

Valerie Hill, chairman of the Old Catton and Sprowston branch of the Royal British Legion, said the plaques needed to be moved into the porch because of regular attempts to steal them.

But Ken Lashley, Sprowston Town Council chairman, said that moving them would be “rather disrespectful” and that they should stay where they are.


  • As aprevious member of Sprowston RBL, and a present member of Thorpe RBL and also a parishioner of Sprowston who works closely with St Cuthberts, I can tell you that I fully support Rev Simon Stokes (and Tigger!). Having seen such wanton destruction of War memorials that happens, and unfortunately the lack of understanding, and respect for them, I think that the centenery of WW1 is actually a perfectly symbolic time to move them to a place of protection and security. They are NOT actually the War memorial, but a copy. The original remains respectfully in situe.

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    Sunday, July 13, 2014

  • I should like to make it clear, as I did at the public meeting, that I attended the meeting as a resident of Sprowston. My comments were my own personal views and not necessarily those of the Town Council.

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    Ken Lashley

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

  • With the centenary coming up shortly I am disappointed by local church's attitude to these memorials. In Beeston near. Dereham the memorial is very hard to read yet when I raised the issue with the local vicar he dismissed the problem. There is a great website that demonstrates how to clean these memorials with a sponge and soapy water. Cleaning is the least we can do for these men who gave their lives in terrible conditions to let their names live on

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    Michael Clintergate

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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