THE leader of Portsmouth City Council is to pile pressure on museum bosses to ensure the iconic Yomper Falklands memorial statue does not move.
Tory councillor Donna Jones has rallied behind residents spearheading a campaign to protect the Yomper at The Royal Marines Museum.
‘I am also urging the museum to think very carefully over the Yomper’s next steps, and consider the possibility of a replica being made for the dockyard, rather than trying to move a large, heavy statue.Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council
It comes after plans surfaced to move the Yomper to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard once The Royal Marines Museum moves there in 2019.
Cllr Jones says it is ‘absolutely vital’ the Eastney monument stays put.
She agrees with sculptor, Philip Jackson, the man who created it before its unveiling in 1992, that it’s the last proud reminder of the area’s association with the Royal Marines.
And so Cllr Jones plans to write to the board of the National Museum of the Royal Navy urging them not to move it – and instead create an alternative statue which can go up in the dockyard once the museum relocates.
A petition against the Yomper’s move, created by resident Sheila Mackie, has now been signed more than 1,000 times.
Cllr Jones said: ‘It’s imperative that the Yomper remains where it is.
‘When I became leader of the council, I wrote to the chancellor making the case for funding to enable the relocation of the Royal Marines Museum.
‘I feel I have helped to get that money, and I would be very, very disappointed if the Yomper moved after the city has helped the museum so much.
‘People feel very strongly about the Yomper being moved.
‘To move the original in its current form would not be practical.
‘I am also urging the museum to think very carefully over the Yomper’s next steps, and consider the possibility of a replica being made for the dockyard, rather than trying to move a large, heavy statue.’
Community support for the Yomper continues to grow.
Richard Alfred Boryer, a First Gulf War Veteran who lives in Havant, said: ‘The Yomper should stay at the home of The Royal Marines.
‘It is seen by lots of people.
‘But if it was moved to the dockyard, it would be seen by less. It would be almost like putting it behind closed doors.’
Residents Denise and Ray Woodham have also pledged to support efforts to keep the Yomper where it is.