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Campaign to save war memorial is gaining strength

Cllr Barbara Johnson is one of three councillors to launch the petition to save the portico war memorial at the Cottage Hospital in Harborough

Cllr Barbara Johnson is one of three councillors to launch the petition to save the portico war memorial at the Cottage Hospital in Harborough

 

Hundreds of people have already backed a campaign to protect and preserve the war memorial and portico at the Cottage Hospital in town.

The petition was launched by Liberal Democrat councillors Barbara Johnson, Sarah Hill and Phil Knowles two weeks ago. and calls on the NHS to protect the Coventry Road site, to safely move it to an agreed new home and to secure funding for its upkeep.

Health chiefs removed the costs of rehousing the memorial from its budget plans in January.

As of Tuesday, 746 people had signed either the paper or online version of the petition.

The campaigners are now hoping to reach the 2,000-name mark over the coming weeks.

Rosalind Willatts, the district council’s former conservation officer, got in touch with the Mail this week to say: “In this year of the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War it is fitting that Harborough people realise that the town’s main memorial to the war was the extension of the Cottage Hospital, paid for by public subscription; that of the cross on The Square was secondary.”

Reader Richard Nichols added: “This memorial is unique in that it remembers all in the district who served not just those who died.

“And the memorial wing at the hospital was not the only thing paid for by public subscription – the entire hospital was funded by local townspeople and local companies.”

The number of names on the memorial is actually far greater than was published in last week’s Mail.

English Heritage, which is responsible for granting listed building status, has in its records that 953 names are inscribed on the four marble tablets. But after a few readers raised eyebrows, we are happy to clarify that the true figure is actually 1,658. Each of the four tablets lists 416 names except the fourth tablet which tallies 410.

The paper version is now in many sites around town, including the Mail office at 9 Northampton Road, and is online at www.ipetitions.com/petition/war-memorial-MH-hospital.

 

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