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Row over war memorial move

The current site

The current site

Tensions are running high in a row over the proposed relocation of a war memorial.

Following a village vote, Tempsford’s war memorial is to be moved from its current location outside the Stuart Memorial Hall to Millennium Garden Sanctuary, provided planning permission is granted.

In 2013 a memorial was installed on the green in memory of the female secret agents who were flown out of RAF Tempsford to aid resistance movements during the Second World War.

The move would place the older memorial next to its newer counterpart.

A vote was put to the village and 66 per cent of the people who responded supported moving the memorial.

But 82-year-old Betty Mardlin and a group of fellow residents object to the move.

They said: “The men whose names were on this stone made the ultimate sacrifice.

“Out of respect for them the memorial stone should stay where it was and always has been, at the Stuart Memorial Hall. It should not be moved on a whim.”

Betty previously described the move as a “terrible thing.”

But Tazi Husain, chairman of Tempsford Memorial Trust, said: “Our war memorial – set up in 1925 to honour the 15 villagers who gave up their lives in the Great War – was sited in front of our village hall, which was set up that same year by Mrs Dugald Stuart Tempsford Hall in memory of her son, William Esme Stuart, one of the 15 who died.

“At the time it was a fairly central area in Tempsford, the two parts of the village being divided by the Great North Road, at that time just a quiet dirt track.

“It is now the A1, noisy with traffic roaring past, and the surrounding area of the war memorial has been concreted and gravelled and is now the car park for the village hall.

“It is not the quiet area of reflection that it once may have been; one has difficulty hearing the service during the Remembrance Day gatherings each November.”

Parish Councillor Steve Cooney emphasised that each time changes to the memorial have been suggested they have been put to the village as a vote. The memorial is currently absent as it is being cleaned and repainted.

A rededication service is planned for Monday, August 4.

To comment on the planning application visit http://bit.ly/1iqcMPk

 

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