CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans to move the Yomper statue have told of their disgust after an artist’s impression of the landmark’s new home was revealed.
Plans to ship the iconic Falklands memorial from its prominent position outside The Royal Marines Museum into the historic dockyard have sparked fury among Eastney residents.
I find this astonishing that this is the fate of the statuePhil Saunders, campaigner
The museum is set to move there in 2019 thanks to a £2m boost from the government and is considering taking the Yomper to showcase to visitors.
But Phil Saunders, who has been organising the campaign to keep Yomper at its home outside the former Royal Marine Barracks in Eastney, said the latest artist’s impression of the statue had confirmed his worst fears.
The Marine Gate resident said: ‘I was shocked by what I saw.
‘It realised my worst fears of what they are going to do with the Yomper.
‘I find this astonishing that this is the fate of the statue.
‘This is an iconic statue that should be available to the public gaze at all times and not locked away in a museum.’
So far, 3,000 people have backed an online petition calling for the Yomper not to be moved.
Mr Saunders’ wife Margaret is pleased with the support.
She claimed moving the Yomper could cause untold harm on future generations in Portsmouth.
‘There are so many families these days that have not got the money even to afford a family ticket at the museum,’ she said.
‘There’s a lot of poverty in Portsmouth. Are we now just saying that only the wealthy families can go and see it while those families with children that are struggling can’t?’
John Rawlinson, director of visitor experience at the National Museum of the Royal Navy said the consultation on the Yomper was still its infancy and that no decision about the statue had been made.
But he hinted there is nothing stopping the Yomper from being placed ‘either inside the museum or outside’.
Mr Rawlinson added: ‘I’m yet to work on a project where what you see in the artist’s impression, completed about 18 months ago, remains unchanged.
‘They’re never what it looks like in real terms. It’s an impression of an idea and doesn’t mean that’s what is going to happen.’
He said the museum is launching a detailed poll and consultation about the move later this month which would be key in deciding the Yomper’s future.