A campaign to move Warrington’s war memorial at the Cenotaph on Bridgefoot to a more accessible location is gaining momentum, with a young former soldier who nearly lost his life in Afghanistan, adding his voice to the campaign.
Tom Coleridge, aged 22, who almost died after being shot through the stomach and spine when his patrol was ambushed in July 2010, has teamed up with campaigners who are calling on Warrington Borough Council to re-locate the memorial to all those who have lost their lives in the two world wars and other conflicts.
Wheelchair user Tom, (pictured above and right in his army days) who was injured serving with the 1st Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, has great difficulty accessing the memorial and believes it should be situated in a more accessible location.
He now works for Warrington Disability Partnership who are also backing the campaign which was started by Julie Francis and Jeff Butler.
Campaigner Julie’s son Luke joined the army when he was 17 nearly six years ago and serves with the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers, while his grandad is also a 78-year-old veteran.
“They would like to have a picture taken together on the Cenotaph but it is so difficult to access they would have to play chicken to get across the roads.”
She said it was also totally unsuitable for wheelchair users like Tom to access it.
Julie added: “The Cenotaph is in a poor state of repair and the names on the walls are not kept upto date as they should be. The roads around the Cenotaph are a death trap – an accident waiting to happen.
“It is also not in a peaceful place for anyone to go and spend quality time.”
Julie believes little has been done by the council to ensure the war memorial is kept in good condition, other than planting a few token flowers.
“There is no parking, no seating, no proper access – it is a disgrace.”
She said various other locations had been suggested, including the front of the town hall or Victoria Park.
“My son Luke has seen many memorials around the world but nothing like ours. He says it is unique but not in a good way though!
A Warrington Borough Council spokesperson said: “We have asked veterans groups to come forward with their views about this with a view to further discussions and so we await their response then we can look at next steps.”
To join the campaign visit the facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/660956257286646/ or contact Julie via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 07821 026 786
Julie is pictured with Tom at the war memorial and top with fellow campaigner Jeff Butler.