They don't care

PUBLISHED: 18:12 10 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:49 03 March 2010

ON the eve of the day when the nation remembers lives lost in the Second World War, a disgusted ex-serviceman has slammed the lack of support for a tribute in Ipswich.

ON the eve of the day when the nation remembers lives lost in the Second World War, a disgusted ex-serviceman has slammed the lack of support for a tribute in Ipswich.

Peter Thompson said the long-running campaign for an extension to the cenotaph in Christchurch Park has been snubbed by the business community in Ipswich.

The British Legion in Ipswich has received cash from pensioners - many of whose husbands gave their lives in battle - but very little from the town's firms.

The £17,000 is just a fraction of the £250,000 needed for the memorial, which would also pay tribute to those who lost their lives in subsequent conflicts such as The Gulf War and Falklands War.

Mr Thompson spoke after completing a 50-mile sponsored cycle ride on a static bike at Whitton Sports Centre for the cause.

Much of the £250 raised came from the Royal Naval Association.

"We are just not getting the response from the town, which is really bad. In fact it really hurts," said the 68-year-old, who is secretary of the British Legion Ipswich branch.

"We have old age pensioners giving £5, £10 or £20 and it shouldn't be coming from them. It is terrible. There is so much apathy. There is all this building work going on in the town and they are not supporting the war memorial. It is the people's war memorial. It is for everybody.

"Ipswich had one of the best war memorials in England in the 1920's but it is not any more.

"The way I feel about it, if those chaps hadn't have given their lives in the second world war these business people wouldn't be making their money."

It comes after his war hero cousin, Walter Thompson, asked for money instead of presents for his 90th birthday and raised £370 for the cenotaph extension.

"It is only things like this that keep the campaign going," said Mr Thompson, of Thurleston Lane. "I feel a bit concerned that we are not getting the support we need, it is a shame really.

"I don't know why we are not getting the support. It is a long while ago since it happened. People have got short memories. But pupils are being taught as part of their curriculum at school, and poppies are doing really well.

"Soldiers, airmen and sailors are volunteers now, but most of those who fought in the Second World War were conscripts - that's the difference.

"There will be people at the Remembrance Day service in Ipswich who knew people who lost their lives in the Second World War, but their names aren't on the memorial - it's just people from the First World War. Plus the fact that if anyone is killed from this recent conflict who is from Ipswich, their names will be also on it.

"I am just hoping that there will be a change of heart."

He thanked Ipswich Mayor Maureen Carrington-Brown who wrote to more than 80 firms in the town, and £1,500 was made for the appeal.

Reg Driver, chairman of the British Legion Ipswich branch, said: "We do feel frustrated.

"The borough council have been good, and ordinary folk have responded, but not big businesses."

The extension would pay tribute to 595 of those who lost their lives in the Second World War.

If you can help cheques be made to the War Memorial Fund, c/o British Legion Ipswich branch, 12 St Margaret's Green, Ipswich.

The British Legion also has a signed Ipswich Town shirt to auction off.

If you have an event which could be auctioned, please contact the British Legion at the above address.

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