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'Lack of respect' over memorial wreaths in Chester

Published date: 21 February 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A ROW has broken out over the placing of wreaths on the Chester Cathedral War Memorial.

Concerned Chester resident Graham Tilston claims wreaths remembering the fallen British soldiers in all wars were not being properly secured to the war memorial at the cathedral.

He said they were blown off the memorial by the wind and not being placed back on the memorial, but in the foyer of an old entrance to the cathedral off St Werburgh Street.

Mr Tilston, of Foregate Street, said the problem has been ongoing for several years and claimed both Chester Cathedral and Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) – which owns the memorial – had not taken action to properly secure the wreaths or put them back onto the memorial when blown away.

He said: “Over many years the cathedral authority has shown a lack of respect towards the war memorial and the wreaths laid on it on Remembrance Day.

“I have seen wreaths lying in flower beds and strewn down the street when they have been blown off the memorial by the wind and instead of being placed back onto the memorial they are dumped in the porch of the old entrance in Werburgh Street.

“It is a disgrace and shows a lack of respect towards the brave men and women who have given their lives for their country and continue to do so.

“It is especially frustrating when just a small bit of ceremonial rope or even a bit of fishing wire could be used to make sure they are not blown off the memorial in the first place.”

A spokesman for CWaC said it owns the memorial but its use, including the removal of wreaths after three months, is managed by the cathedral.

“We are not aware who placed the wreaths in the doorway of the cathedral,” said the spokesman. “However, should our Streetscene teams find any wreaths in the street, they will be replaced on the war memorial within the cathedral grounds – as any caring member of the public would do so.”

The Dean of Chester Cathedral, The Very Rev Prof Gordon McPhate, said they would be willing to work with all parties to ensure the problem is resolved.

He said: “Chester Cathedral takes the Act of Remembrance very seriously and we are committed to safeguarding the memory of those who have given their lives as members of the Armed Forces.

“Every year, we hold a major Remembrance Day service, which is followed by the laying of wreaths at the War Memorial.

“We are prepared to work in consultation with key parties, including CWaC, to provide a suitable solution to the issue of the wreaths being damaged or moved by adverse weather – so long as what is proposed is in keeping with the policies of other UK cathedrals and The Royal British Legion.”

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