Veterans' anger over rubbish at memorial


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War veterans today said it was a 'disgrace' that a memorial to the Falklands dead was being used as a dumping ground for bin bags.
Portsmouth City Council today admitted that its contractor Colas regularly picked up rubbish from a spot right next to the memorial by the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth.

It came to light as veterans complained the bags of rubbish blighted a ceremony on Sunday to remember the victims of the 1982 conflict.

They had to place the Royal British Legion band in front of the rubbish to hide the bags from view as the solemn ceremony took place.

Herbert Shepherd, a retired corporal in the 16th Independent Paratrooper Brigade, said: 'What a disgrace and insult it is to the Falklands veterans, casualties and those that gave the ultimate.

'Prior to the event a dozen or so full rubbish bags had been near the memorial against the Sally Port walls, and to prevent the people seeing it the British Legion Band were placed in front of it.'

The 81-year-old from Billy Lawn Avenue, Leigh Park, Havant, added: 'Portsmouth was once the centre of activity for the Falklands campaign and I can't believe it has been reduced to this.'

City council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said the council should have told Colas to take the bags away either on Saturday night or early on Sunday morning, before the ceremony took place.

He said: 'The refuse is collected by Colas and left at one central point, which is near to the war memorial.

'Usually the events team tell the contractors and they make sure the waste has been collected, but on this occasion it seems there was a breakdown in communication.

'We need to make sure there is a better system in place in future between all parties involved, so that episodes like this don't happen again.'

But AF airman Arthur Nelson, 73, of Bedhampton Road, North End, who organises the event for the Royal British Legion, said: 'Why is there rubbish there anyway?

'It seems totally disrespectful to the sacrifices these men made for their country, and it's only because there was a breakdown that it was spotted.'

Private Alan Douglas, 71, a retired paratrooper with Third Battalion from Simpson Road, North End, Portsmouth, said: 'I was shocked because I have been six times before and the area is usually spotless.

'We want guarantees from the council that this sort of thing is not going to happen again.

'They can't say it was an oversight because the Lord Mayor was there and it happens every year.'


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