Women on warpath to protect Leigh memorial garden

Leigh Journal: Leigh Soroptimists Avis Freeman, Gill Bowyer, Margaret Molyneux and Marlene Downey Leigh Soroptimists Avis Freeman, Gill Bowyer, Margaret Molyneux and Marlene Downey

WOMEN are on the warpath to make sure a memorial to victims of international conflict is shown the respect it deserves.

Members of the Leigh and District branch of Soroptimist International have highlighted continuing anti-social problems focused on the Church Street memorial garden in Leigh town centre.

Branch member Marlene Downey told the Journal: “Members of the club who regularly visit or pass through the area of the cenotaph are disgusted that in this year especially, the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War that this site is regularly vandalised.

“Wreaths are used as frisbees, wooden crosses placed during the Remembrance Service in November have been strewn around the site, waste bins are overflowing and rubbish strewn around with apparent complete disrespect of the cenotaph and what it stands for by some people who use this area.

“What should be a pleasant experience for any member of the public to sit amid the gardens is marred by the vandalism, litter and damage caused by people who completely disregard and disrespect this site.

“We appeal the community to help resolve this problem and restore this site to the tendered, well kept, respected area which the town would be proud of instead of the disgrace it is.”

Over the years the gardens have been targeted by drug users, drunks and metal thieves and the Journal once ran a story and photograph after a gas cooker was deposited on the steps leading up to the memorial.

Now the Soroptimists, together with other organisations including The Royal British Legion, cadets and Wigan Council, have attempted to make the cenotaph park an attractive place to visit. Bulbs and bedding plants were planted during the Queen’s Jubilee year, and in 2014 poppy seeds were sown.

This year the town’s First World War Victoria Cross recipient Alfred Wilkinson will be honoured when a commemorative paving stone will be placed in a public place, donated by the Government in tribute to a brave son of Leigh.

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