People power wins as council agrees to clean Havant war memorial

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A MEMORIAL that will host a First World War commemoration will be cleaned following pressure from residents.

Pete Walden, the chairman of Havant Fifty-Plus Forum, has been campaigning for months to have the memorial outside St Faith’s Church in the town centre cleaned.

Pete Walden, left, and Brandon Taylor, right, at Havant War Memorial .'' ''Picture: Elise Brewerton.

Pete Walden, left, and Brandon Taylor, right, at Havant War Memorial .'' ''Picture: Elise Brewerton.

But he met with resistance from Havant Borough Council, which is responsible for cleaning it, and claims he was repeatedly told it would not be cleaned until November.

On Monday, a service will be held at the memorial and Mr Walden felt it should be looking its best.

Since The News contacted the council it has announced it will be cleaned by a professional stonemason. And it said it took the decision weeks ago when the vigil was announced.

Mr Walden, 83, of Trosnant Road, Havant, said: ‘The memorial is an absolute disgrace.

‘You can’t even make out the names of the men who died in the First World War.

‘They are illegible because it needs a thorough clean.

‘We owe it to the people who died to keep it in the best condition. It is the least we can do. Even the stonework is filthy.

‘I have been asking the council for months to do something about it but they refused and said it won’t be done until November.

‘I said it would only take a couple of people a few days with some hard work and it would look good.

‘Thank goodness they’re going to do something about it.

‘But it’s only because I kept on to them and complained about it.

‘I worked for the council for many years and it was my job to make sure it was spotless. They should take as much care now.’

Brandon Taylor, an 81-year-old RAF veteran, said he also feels strongly about the memorial.

Mr Taylor, of Hornbeam Road, Denvilles, said: ‘It seems sometimes the war memorial is forgotten. When you think of how many young men lost their lives they should care more about it.’

In a statement the council said: ‘The war memorial outside St Faith’s church in Havant is the responsibility of Havant Borough Council. The site is currently cleaned once a year in November prior to Remembrance Sunday by a professional stonemason.

‘It is only cleaned once a year owing to the delicate nature of the plaques and the existing stonework. Over-cleaning could possibly cause unnecessary damage.

‘We are currently in the process of arranging another clean prior to the upcoming service in August.’