Budleigh’s soldier silhouettes shelved due to ‘destructive youngsters’

PUBLISHED: 08:00 04 October 2018

Budleigh will not be getting their own 'silent soldiers' .Ref mhh 33 18TI 9889. Picture: Terry Ife

Budleigh will not be getting their own 'silent soldiers' .Ref mhh 33 18TI 9889. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

Concerns over ‘destructive youngsters’ in Budleigh Salterton has meant plans have been shelved for commemorative silhouette soldiers being installed in the town.

The town council has decided against installing the figures to mark 100 years since the end of World War One after similar effigies were targeted in other East Devon communities.

At a meeting of the council, members voted against paying £500 for the silhouettes but did agree to pay £485 for a commemorative granite plaque which will be put in the ground near the town’s war memorial. They also agreed to make a ‘substantial’ donation to armed forces charities ‘when the time comes’.

Speaking at the meeting, councillor Caz Sismore-Hunt warned that any silhouettes would be ‘here today, gone tomorrow’, adding: “We have at the moment a group of youngsters who are somewhat destructive and I can’t see one of these silhouette soldiers staying for long.”

Cllr Courtney Richards added: “Having seen the news about Axminster, when they smashed them down as soon as they put them up, I would rather see us, when the time comes, make a much more substantial donation towards the poppy fund or the Royal British Legion.

“It’s in memory of those who have given their lives but it will go to help the living as well.”

Former mayor Cllr Alan Dent said: “I liked the silhouettes you see going down to Exmouth but I understand it’s a very temporary thing, very vulnerable and it won’t last.

“Therefore it would be much better giving an additional amount of money for the services of the Royal British Legion or SSAFA or whoever.”

The council has also agreed to hire an Exmouth-based company to create the new granite plaque.

Cllr Lynda Evans had said she felt it was a ‘waste of money’ and the cash should ‘go to the living’.

However, councillors voted by eight to four in favour of the new plaque and a donation to a forces charity.

Cllr Chris Kitson said: “There are people who visit the town and like to see the memorial and I just wonder whether we should have something to show the town has got a visual thing that is remembering them.”

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