Anger at disrespect shown to Exmouth war memorial

VISITORS who attended the start of a weekend-long Christmas festival have voiced their anger after spotting people climbing on the war memorial in Exmouth’s Strand Gardens.

A number of people have complained to the organisers of the Christmas Cracker event, held last weekend, after a faction of both adults and children were seen on the memorial on the Friday night.

Exmouth resident Helen Halsey said: “I found this disrespectful and disgraceful to our war hero’s past and present. It was upsetting to see the people of Exmouth having a lack of respect.

“The town council should put a barrier up around the memorial to prevent this from happening in the future.”

Some believe it was because of the large crowds in the Strand Gardens and thus a lack of space around the pathways that people moved onto the monument’s steps to get a better view of the festivities.

Former Royal Marine Dave Somerton-Rees, from Exmouth, said: “Compared with last year’s successful event, it was disappointing with the lack of space available and everything crammed around the middle.

“I was appalled at the behaviour of a number of individuals who felt it was perfectly ok to climb on the memorial and stand on wreaths of remembrance in order to get a better view.

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“I saw one father with as child on his shoulders in the area. A good example for any youngster!

Heather Smith, from Exmouth, said: “I’m sure the Royal British Legion were as upset as I was at this disgusting sight let alone the families of recently departed soldiers.”

John Wokersien, Exmouth Town Council clerk, said it was a shame that some people were not as aware as others of the sanctity of the memorial.

“We became aware that the war memorial was being used by people to watch Titan the Robot and dealt with it straight away.

“We now know that we will have to put barriers around there on occasions such as this which attract a lot of people.

“No damage was done and the wreaths are in good shape and look as good as ever.”

Organisers of the Christmas event were also criticised for the fact the children’s fairground was advertised as being open until Sunday but it packed up on Friday night.