A group of ex-servicemen have enlisted the support of Newcastle’s Labour MP Paul Farrelly in their campaign to save a village war memorial from falling victim to disrepair and neglect.
British Legion members have launched a petition to persuade Newcastle Council to renovate the memorial, located in Chesterton Park, in time for the 2014 centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.
The memorial contains the names of 172 veterans from the village who lost their lives in the two World Wars.
But there are weeds growing through the stonework and some of the names inscribed on it have become illegible, said Bob Copeland, the Legion’s Newcastle and Chesterton branch secretary.
“This is an important public monument which was funded through public subscription and it is crucial that it is repaired and maintained as an appropriate tribute to those who gave their lives to preserve our freedom,” he said.
Mr Farrelly has promised to forward the Legion’s petition on to the Borough Council with a request to see if a grant can be secured to pay for the repairs.
“This memorial is enormously important to Chesterton and it is vital that it is cared for properly. We have a duty to make sure it is preserved so that future generations can understand the sacrifices that so many were prepared to make,” he said.
Two years ago the memorial was defaced just before Remembrance Sunday when vandals daubed it with blue paint, covering some of the names inscribed on it. At that time the Borough Council stepped in to clean it up so that it was ready for the Remembrance Day service held afterwards.
Bob Copeland and Paul are pictured at Chesterton memorial Park, with some of the completed petition forms.