Wreaths debacle must not reoccur

PUBLISHED: 07:10 25 April 2014

The following is an open letter to Councillor Graham Godbeer, the chairman of East Devon District Council.

During the course of this last week I have had a number of people from Exmouth asking me where the lovely display of poppy wreaths has gone, as they always get a feeling of comfort when crossing the Strand, and often sit quietly to remember those who have given their lives in World Wars I and II.

Members of the Exmouth branch of the Royal British Legion have made a special effort this year to regularly check the war memorial to ensure that the wreaths are securely held in position against inclement weather.

Although some wreaths were slightly damaged, the majority survived in very good condition in spite of some wet and windy weather.

We felt that this year, 2014, the war memorial would be in use on a number of occasions to acknowledge the 100 years since the end of World War I in memory of those who had fallen during this conflict.

We find it very sad that action was taken to dispose of the wreaths, some 80 of which were in very good condition and secure, without reference to the Royal British Legion whose role has always been associated with the war memorial – particularly at the time of our annual service of remembrance, when citizens, young and old, attend in their hundreds to pay their respects to the fallen.

We have made our enquiries, and find that no reference was made to any member of the committee or member of the Royal British Legion, but instructions were given to a council employee to remove and destroy the wreaths, causing concern, and in some cases distress, to those who want to remember their loved ones and had made a contribution to the purchase of the wreaths for this purpose.

Whilst there is now nothing we can do to repair this sad loss, we must set up a procedure to ensure that this situation NEVER occurs again in our town.

Gordon Crocker

President

Royal British Legion

Exmouth Branch


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