Controversial Sprowston war memorial plaque switch in the spotlight

PUBLISHED: 11:19 12 July 2014 | UPDATED: 11:24 12 July 2014

Rev Simon Stokes with the war memorial at St Cuthbert's Church, Sprowston. 
Photo by Simon Finlay.

Rev Simon Stokes with the war memorial at St Cuthbert's Church, Sprowston. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Controversial proposals to remove plaques from a war memorial came under the spotlight at a public meeting.

The Reverend Canon Simon Stokes, vicar at St Cuthbert’s Church in Wroxham Road, had sparked anger in some quarters when he suggested moving the plaques from the war memorial at the church’s driveway and into the church’s entrance porch.

Critics had attacked the proposal, saying they wanted the plaques to stay where they are - a location they have been in since the 1970s.

Norfolk police even got involved after the vicar contacted them about threats posted on social media, which he reported as a hate crime.

Last night, all sides came together at a public meeting held at Sprowston Senior Citizens Club in Recreation Ground Road, attended by about 50 people.

Mr Stokes told the meeting he had held discussions with the Royal British Legion and Sprowston Heritage Society about the switch - which he said would make the plaques more secure and allow better information about them to be provided.

He said the plaques were copies of the names on the memorial at St Mary and St Margaret’s Church and had been moved in the past.

Valerie Hill, chairman of the Old Catton and Sprowston branch of the Royal British Legion, said the plaques needed to be moved into the porch because of regular attempts to steal them.

But Ken Lashley, Sprowston Town Council chairman, said that moving them would be “rather disrespectful” and that they should stay where they are.

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