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Vandal fears for wartime tribute

GRAFFITI fears led Bersted councillors to reject a wartime remembrance project.


The parish council members said they feared a Silent Soldier to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War would be vandalised.


The Royal British Legion has launched the national scheme to pay tribute to the hundreds of thousands who lost their lives for their country in the conflict.


Each soldier is 144cm X 60cm, weighs 3kg and is made of the aluminium composite sheet called dibond. It is supported by iron poles which weigh about 7kg.


Parish council clerk Debbie Holcombe suggested to councillors they could pay £250 to the Legion for one Silent Soldier to be installed by the council’s noticeboard at Chichester Road and Central


Avenue junction. But the councillors said they did not want the servicemen’s memories to be tarnished by any damage.


Cllr David Lainchbury said: “My one concern about the whole concept is that they are going to get vandalised.


“Where we are proposing to put it, it could get run over, stolen or sprayed with graffiti. I’m not sure the Legion have thought this one through. I think they should have made it a big window sticker and asked businesses to sign up and everybody would have seen it.”


Cllr Gill Yeates said “If the Silent Soldier is sitting there and it gets damaged in any way, it would be very disrespectful and it would hurt a lot of people who are grateful for what the soldiers did for them in the First World War.”


Cllr Martin Lury said backing the Silent Soldier would have been a worthwhile cause but the council also supported a lot of good causes which served its area.


Cllr Brian Knight said the proposed location for the Silent Soldier would have protected it from being knocked over by motorists parking to visit the shops.


Bognor Regis Town Council is buying four soldiers for locations to be decided.

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