Monday, July 14: Memorial fears

PUBLISHED: 16:32 14 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:18 10 June 2010

PROPOSALS to move the Strand Garden war memorial have sparked fears the politically-correct brigade could move in and scrap it altogether. Some people now believe if the granite cross was moved it could give the green light for it to be permanently replac

PROPOSALS to move the Strand Garden war memorial have sparked fears the politically-correct brigade could move in and scrap it altogether.Some people now believe if the granite cross was moved it could give the green light for it to be permanently replaced by an obelisk, needle or statue.At a meeting held by the Exmouth branch of the Royal British Legion to discuss the Strand facelift, former chairman Tom Harvey-May said he warned those in power could decide the cross was offensive to other faiths once the memorial was removed from its present position.He said war memorials all over the world were usually non-specific in their religion - and Exmouth could be forced to toe the line once changes were in motion."When the memorial was built, Exmouth was a very Christian town. Over the years Christianity has declined," he said. "Over 10,000 Sikhs died in the Second World War. When you think about it, there are grounds to do it."We don't have many Muslims or Sikhs here, but somebody might decide it's the time to correct a political incorrectness."The plan to move the war memorial has been put forward as part of a multi-million pound project to transform the town centre.The county council plans to turn The Strand into a 'world class space'.But proposals to move the war memorial have angered many veteran servicemen and women, and Exmouth relatives of those who died for their country - whose names are etched on the marble tablets.Exmouth War Memorial Fund spokesman Lionel Howell said scores of veterans have been in touch to voice their anger since the plans were unveiled.He said he believed the council would face a backlash from the public if the memorial - or cross - was lost."I had an old lady in tears who was quite upset because she doesn't know where her relative's grave is because he went down on a ship," said Mr Howell. "The war memorial is the only place she has got to visit."She said if that goes it will be like somebody going into a graveyard and desecrating the graves." l Do you think The Strand war memorial cross should be replaced by an obelisk or statue? Cast your vote at www.exmouthjournal.co.uk where you can also leave a comment about this story.

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