Schoolgirl's fight for cannon

A PRIMARY school girl who complained to the Royal Armouries about the removal of an ancient cannon from a Suffolk village has been told it would be returned when a suitable location is found.

A PRIMARY school girl who complained to the Royal Armouries about the removal of an ancient cannon from a Suffolk village has been told it would be returned when a suitable location is found.

Chloe Kennell and her class at Orford primary school, near Woodbridge, wrote letters to the Royal Armouries at the Tower of London to complain that a 16th Century bronze cannon was taken nearly two years ago from outside a shop in Orford.

Divers including Stuart Bacon, a director of Suffolk Underwater Studies in Front Street, Orford, had risked their lives to bring the ancient gun up to the surface from its resting place at Dunwich.

The Evening Star revealed yesterday that Mr Bacon is fighting to retrieve more than £20,000 in salvage rights from the Royal Armouries, which took the cannon away to Fort Nelson, Portsmouth. It claimed the gun was not secure or properly conserved in Orford and it would not be returned until there was a more suitable venue.


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Chloe wrote: ''Many people in East Anglia, especially in Orford and the surrounding villages, are very angry that a valuable item of Suffolk marine heritage has been removed from Orford and taken hundreds of miles away.

''Just because we don't have a 'suitable' museum doesn't mean we can't have our cannon back. Divers risked their lives to recover the cannon and work the wreck site. How would you like it if we just came and took all of your statues in London?''

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''It was found off our coast, not yours, so that means it belongs to Orford not Fort Nelson.''

Nicholas Boole, of the Royal Armouries, told Chloe it was clear she felt very strongly about the cannon. ''The truth is we want to see the cannon return to Suffolk and Orford.We understand that you see the cannon as yours, however it was decided by the person from HM Coastguards responsible for saying who owns objects taken from the seabed that it should be owned and looked after by everyone."

Nearly 30 letters were sent from Orford, where the cannon had been on display since 1994 before it was taken away in 2001.

The cannon could be given a home in Orford Castle or at a new conservation centre set up by Suffolk Underwater Studies at Bentwaters.

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