Helping ensure Hartlepool never forgets

Martin Sharp and Councillor Brenda Loynes in Victory Square
Martin Sharp and Councillor Brenda Loynes in Victory Square

THE chairman of a group set up to protect a war memorial has thanked councillors for a £230 donation towards a new leaflet and website.

The Friends of Victory Square group was launched after concerns were raised about people dropping litter, drinking, playing football and skateboarding on the memorial, off Victoria Road, in the centre of Hartlepool.

Group chairman Martin Sharp thanked Conservative councillors, Brenda Loynes, George Morris and Ray Wells for the £200 donation from their Rural West ward budgets.

Meanwhile, councillors from the Victoria Ward have also made a £30 donation towards the leaflet and website which will detail the history of the memorial and be a chance for people to share their family memories of the First and Second World War and subsequent conflicts.

The war memorial is a permanent reminder of the town’s men and women who died in wartime.

The Friends of Victory Square group held their latest meeting at The Peoples Centre, in Raby Road.

Mr Sharp said: “I would like to thank all of the councillors for their generous donation and I can assure them that money will be spent wisely.”

Coun Loynes lost a relative in the First World War, Arthur Jolly, who was the cousin of Coun Loynes’ mum, and his name is among the 1,800 on the plinths that surround the memorial.

Coun Loynes said: “We, as ward councillors, are very happy to help support this group.

“It is very important that people remember the sacrifices others made.”

Councillors, residents and representatives from the Royal Air Force Association, British Legion and Hartlepool Combined Services Association and Hartlepool Voluntary Development Agency (HVDA) regularly attend the meetings.

At yesterday’s meeting, members discussed ideas to contribute to a major £400,000 Tees Valley-wide project to commemorate the First World War, which is being led by Hartlepool Borough Council.

The project will see exhibitions, drama performances, digital and hologram projects, outreach and education events across the Tees Valley and schools will be encouraged to visit the Heugh Gun Battery.

Members of the Friends of Victory Square group said they were keen to get involved and came up with an idea of holding a concert in the square, with performances from local choirs and readings of poetry and stories related to the First World War, which would be open to the whole town.

Mr Sharp said the idea would be presented to council officers at their next meeting in July.