Poppy removal sparks anger from Gosport alderman

TRIBUTES Wreaths at Ann's Hill Road Memorial have been removed
TRIBUTES Wreaths at Ann's Hill Road Memorial have been removed
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AN HONORARY alderman has expressed his anger over the removal of poppy wreaths after they were on display for just over a month.

The wreaths and crosses at the Ann’s Hill Road memorial, at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, have been removed by facilities staff at the hospital as they say weather conditions could make them a potential hazard.

Former mayor of Gosport, honorary alderman Ken Searle, said: ‘Everywhere in the country they leave them all the year round. But here within a month they’ve disappeared completely again. Apart from a lot of money, that’s not respect to remove them within a month.

‘That war memorial belongs to the people of this town. The last thing that’s said at those services, if you’ve ever been to one, is “we will remember”.’

The poppies were placed at the memorial in November on Remembrance Sunday.

Colin Jones, the facilities manager at the hospital, said he had removed them. He said he would look into ways of keeping the wreaths but they were removed because they were a potential hazard.

He said: ‘They don’t keep them outside all year round.

‘It’s all windy and wet and they all fly everywhere, because they’re loose.

‘We’ve done it every year at the same time and we’ve never had complaints before. Because it’s wet and very windy they’ll just lift and fly on the road and cause danger and so on.’

Councillor Derek Kimber, the Armed Forces champion at Gosport Borough Council, said the council did not order them to be removed. He said: ‘We tend to go up after the service at Lee-on-the-Solent and pin them to the grass so they can’t blow away and we were looking to do something similar at Ann’s Hill.

‘I don’t think there’s any deliberate policy on anybody’s part. I’m sure they are being removed for safety reasons.