Concern over 'shabby' war memorial

(From left) Ex-servicemen Kevin Oldfield, David Oxbury and Gavin Scott by Norwich War Memorial

(From left) Ex-servicemen Kevin Oldfield, David Oxbury and Gavin Scott who were part of a group of five veterans who watched the Norwich City Council Remembrance Sunday 2021 service on November 14 but were not officially part of it. - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

Veterans are prepared to clean up Norwich War Memorial after concerns over its "shabby" appearance at the Remembrance Sunday parade.

The memorial on St Peters Street to thousands of men who died in the First World War was designed by Sir Edward Lutyens and originally unveiled at the eastern end of the Guildhall in 1927.

It was relocated opposite the City Hall to the newly-built memorial gardens when they were opened in 1938 and is maintained by Norwich City Council.

Poppy wreaths on Norwich War Memorial for Remembrance Sunday on November 14 2021

Poppy wreaths on Norwich War Memorial for Remembrance Sunday on November 14 2021 - Credit: Jessica Coppins

But after the well-attended unofficial Remembrance Sunday service on November 14, despite the council not organising a large-scale parade because of Covid concerns, the state of the memorial has been highlighted.

Gavin Scott, 58, from Norwich, who served in the Royal Navy for more than nine years and Falklands War in 1982, said: "It didn't look in the best condition on the day. It should be the council's responsibility to keep it looking good.

"If it is not prepared to do it I'm sure I could muster four or five veterans who would be more than happy to clean it up.

"There have been comments made about it in the past."

He added it was important and a good idea to keep the memorial in good condition especially around Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.

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Royal Navy veteran, Kevin Oldfield, 60, who watched the smaller pre-recorded city council ceremony on Sunday morning as a form of dignified protest, said: "When we got there it did look a bit shabby."

The Remembrance Sunday 2021 parade in Norwich which was organised by military groups

The Remembrance Sunday 2021 parade in Norwich which was organised by military groups - Credit: Jessica Coppins

Robert Maguire, from Norwich, who has spent the past six years putting together the War Memorials Norwich and Norfolk database, was horrified by the state of the memorial on Remembrance Sunday.

He said:  "It is not fitting for this special day."

A spokeswoman for the city council said: "The council takes great pride in the historic war memorial.

"Following a £2.6m refurbishment in 2009 of both the memorial and adjoining gardens, there has been a robust maintenance routine in place to ensure its upkeep.

"The memorial is cleaned four times a year, scheduled to coincide with key events, therefore it was cleaned last week before Armistice Day. Due to the delicate stonework, cleaning the monument has to be done sensitively and using an agreed method as part of its agreed restoration plan. 

"The state of the memorial has been made noticeably worse by the levels of standing traffic nearby as a result on the ongoing roadworks at Grapes Hill. 

"Once these are completed we will be able to assess its state and commission further works as needed."

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