Editor’s weekly column: Listen to what the people have to say on war memorial

Neil Pickford is the editor of the Harborough Mail
Neil Pickford is the editor of the Harborough Mail

The strength of feeling among Harborians who want to secure the future of the town’s war memorial and portico at the Cottage Hospital is already obvious to see.

A petition calling for exactly that was launched two weeks ago and has attracted more than 740 signatures, and rising.

Read the latest on page 7 of this week’s paper or see our web story Campaign to save the war memorial is gaining strength.

And although the powers-that-be have not suggested they won’t find a home for the memorial honouring the town’s First World War soldiers, there is no specific plan either.

That is why there is concern.

In this year of all years, as we mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, there is no certainty surrounding the future for that memorial honouring over 1,650 men – many of who lost their lives.

Some petitions make all kinds of demands and their message can become lost, but not this one.

The message is incredibly simple. The NHS – which removed the costs of rehousing the memorial from its budget plans in January – needs to reinstate those costs, come up with a new home for the memorial and commit to meeting all costs of its upkeep.

As Rosalind Willatts says in our story this week, the town’s main memorial to the war was the extension of the Cottage Hospital, which was paid for by public subscription.

The memorial belongs to the people of Harborough and their voice must be heard when its future is discussed.

You can sign the petition here Save the War Memorial Petition.

Column by Neil Pickford.

Follow Neil on Twitter, @NeilPickfordHM.