Battle lines drawn to fight re-siting of war memorial

New battleground: The war memorial at the old Harris Orphanage

New battleground: The war memorial at the old Harris Orphanage

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Plans to move a war memorial could spark a battle royal in Preston’s corridors of power.

On the day the nation was standing in silent remembrance of the millions who died in a century of conflict, three councillors were digging in to fight the re-siting of a monument to the fallen of the Harris Orphanage in Fulwood.

Campaigners want to shift the statue of a First World War soldier to a new home after more than 90 years standing guard on the old children’s home in Garstang Road.

But all three of the councillors in Greyfriars Ward are up in arms over the plan to take the memorial elsewhere, claiming it should be kept within the grounds of the orphanage where it commemorates the sacrifice made by 17 of the children brought up there.

“We are going to fight this tooth and nail,” declared Coun David Hammond. “We don’t want to see the memorial moved.

“It is part of Fulwood’s history, it is Fulwood’s war memorial as such. It is an iconic part of the area and it should not be moved away from the orphanage, no matter what.”

The statue, standing guard on a marble plinthe, bears the names of the Harris fallen - all service personnel who died on active service between 1914 and 1918. But since the building was bought for conversion to a family home, it now stands in a private garden, fenced off for much of the year. One suggestion has been to re-site it in the grounds of the Harris Primary School in Wychnor about a mile away.

The three Tory ward councillors say if it was to be moved then it should only be a matter of yards to the side of Garstang Road so the public can get ready access.

“We have been getting phone calls from local residents opposing the memorial being moved,” added Coun Hammond.

“And all three of us are determined to oppose any such plan when it comes before the council.”

Campaigner Tony Slater said: “If these councillors want a fight they have picked on the wrong person. If they want to vote against this, so be it. Let them face the wrath of the public. My sole aim is to honour the lives of these sadly forgotten heroes.”