PORTSMOUTH’S iconic Yomper statue will not be uprooted from its home, bosses from the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) have today announced.
The museum’s board of trustees voted unanimously to keep the beloved landmark at its home outside the former Royal Marine barracks in Eastney.
It comes after more than 3,000 people backed a petition urging the museum not to move the statue from Eastney to the new Royal Marines Museum, due to open at the historic dockyard in 2020.
A spokeswoman from the NMRN said: ‘Trustees voted unanimously to keep the Yomper where it is. They feel it’s the right decision to make.
‘They will now need to find a way forward to look after the statue, which remains in our collection.’
The news has been welcomed by Portsmouth City Council boss, Councillor Donna Jones – who has been battling alongside the community to keep the Yomper at its prominent position.
Cllr Jones – who is a trustee at the NMRN – said: ‘This is great news for the city and a great outcome for the Yomper.
‘People pressure has won. I would like to say the NMRN has been very sympathetic towards people’s views.
‘There was overwhelming support to keep the Yomper in Eastney in its rightful place.
‘The statue is much-loved in Portsmouth and is an iconic feature in the city.’
The museum is now looking to secure the Yomper’s future.
As part of this, The News understands the NMRN will look to begin discussions with the city council to create a maintenance fund for the statue.
A spokeswoman warned that if the Yomper is vandalised, the decision to keep it in Eastney could be jeopardised.
Depicting a Royal Marine marching across the Falklands, the Yomper has been a feature in Portsmouth since it was unveiled by former prime minister Margaret Thatcher on July 8, 1992.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Falklands War.
The Royal Marines Museum closed earlier this year.
It will re-open in the city’s historic dockyard in 2020 following a multi-million pound revamp to the site.