Friday, 14 December 2018
27 December 2011

All Quiet on the Memorial Front!

Not a modicum of council interest stirs

And I am sure that is how our leaders at the town hall would want it to be!

Back 18 months ago, on the 27 April 2010, a motion was tabled at a full meeting of the council: Part of that motion related to the town centre war memorial (St Mary's Church, Church Street). In the minutes for that meeting there was a note that:-

This council notes that the city centre war memorial located at the rear of St Mary's Church has been allowed to deteriorate into a state of disrepair and that many veterans would find the Council's failure to adequately honour their fallen comrades an insult.

It was proposed:-

  1. That the council urgently commission a survey of the town centre war memorial to evaluate what work needs to be carried out to restore it to its former glory.
  2. Commission any work that needs to doing to the town centre war memorial as soon as possible and without delay.

The council that evening carried that motion unanimously. There was not one dissenting voice! The leader of the council (Cllr Rob Anderson, Labour, Farnham) endorsed the proposal and it looked as though the battle to restore the memorial was won. In fact the council did then go on to clean the memorial together with other memorials around the town.

Our council have reneged on what they promised that night!

Our council now say they do not own the memorial, that they are worried about the integrity of the memorial, in fact any excuse to avoid doing the honourable thing, something that they had agreed should be done.

It is true they do not own the memorial but back in the 1920s the then council agreed that the upkeep of the town's memorial would be theirs, the council's responsibility. I believe that the council today have accepted their responsibility under that 90 year old undertaking by cleaning the St.Mary's memorial and at the same time have recognised that they have a similar responsibility for the Chalvey, Cippenham and Langley memorials. They have also been cleaned following the decision reached at that April 2010 meeting.

Earlier this week I received a letter from Carol Souter CBE the Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund telling me that they welcome applications for projects that seek to restore war memorials. She goes on to say that they have not rejected any such application in the last three years. The HLF has recently launched a campaign to encourage local communities to apply for funding to commemorate the centenaries of the First World War. There is help available also from the War Memorials Trust.

A copy of the letter was also sent to Fiona Mactaggart and Ruth Bagley with an invitation for the council to contact HLF to find out more about potential funding available for the Borough's war memorials. I hope I can persuade the council with this note to go along that road!

There is talk of a new town monument and I really have no objection to that happening but for me this would be a totally separate project. Two of the four memorials mentioned in this note need attention and need it now! If we leave it, they will just get that much worse but the council seem to not mind if that happens. Are our council happy to see them rot away?

The council agreed that the St Mary's memorial would be restored. It hasn't happened and for me all the councillors who were at that meeting back in April 2010 should be ashamed of themselves. Have they no feelings for the men who paid the supreme sacrifice so that we should live in peace. They themselves admit that their behaviour is an insult to the veterans who survived the two terrible World Wars. How can our town hall exhort us to be proud of Slough when they ignore the Slough's fallen?

Malcolm Hellings

P.S. I just wonder how many of our councillors have bothered to get out and look at the local war memorials. Any bets?