MOMENTUM has been thrown behind the community campaign to keep the Yomper statue in Eastney.
The Royal Marines Museum has been considering a plan to take the Falklands memorial with it once the venue moves to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in 2019.
More than 1,850 residents have signed a petition against the bid – and yesterday a cross-party council plan to write to museum bosses saying the Falklands memorial must stay where it is was approved.
Tory councillor Jennie Brent brought forward the idea.
And she incorporated in her proposal a suggestion by Lib Dem councillors Matthew Winnington and Hugh Mason that the council should back residents in their bid to launch a crowdfunding campaign to cover the cost of a replica Yomper to go at the dockyard, so the original memorial can stay in Eastney.
Making her first speech at a full council debate, Cllr Brent said: ‘It’s crucial for our youth and retention of our heritage that the Yomper stays.
‘The site has grown to be more than just a statue. He is a monument for the soldiers and is much loved by everyone that goes by him.
‘It’s a huge tribute to all the area, where the Royal Marines trained.’
She added: ‘He must stay where he is, looking out to sea forever.’
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem leader, said: ‘It’s the people’s statue. If the local residents or the National Museum of the Royal Navy get a replica, that would be great. But the original statue should stay where it is.’