Site secured for memorial

Local historian Mike Coyle by a derelict war memorial in the grounds of the former Co-Operative Sports and Social Club on Preston New Road in Marton, Blackpool
Local historian Mike Coyle by a derelict war memorial in the grounds of the former Co-Operative Sports and Social Club on Preston New Road in Marton, Blackpool
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A campaign was set up after the War Memorials Trust found a memorial stone overgrown and neglected in the grounds of the former Co-operative Sports and Social Club, Marton.

The stone was laid in commemoration of the many workers from the First Blackpool Co-operative Society who gave their lives in both world wars.

But it was feared it could be lost after the site on Preston New Road is redeveloped.

The Co-op, which still owns the land on which the memorial is sited and has plans to develop it, said it was happy to work with the Trust to secure the future of the stone and ensure it is appreciated by the community year 
round. Now a decision has been made on moving the stone, as The Co-operative Estates is consulting on draft plans to build new homes on the land.

South Shore historian Mike Coyle, who works for the War Memorials Trust, met with residents interested in the planning proposals for the site at a public consultation event to discuss the war memorial’s future with its neighbours.

He said: “Those who knew of it were just pleased that it was being saved. The overwhelming majority supported moving the memorial to the Memorial Arboretum in Bispham.

“The War Memorials Trust position, regarding the location of the memorial, is that, wherever possible, it should remain on its original site.

“In this case, for reasons of access and the risk of damage and vandalism, the consensus view is that it should be moved.

“There seems no appetite for it remaining in its present location. Ongoing discussions have firmed up the resiting of the memorial, before redevelopment.”

Bosses at the Fylde coast Memorial Arboretum have already earmarked a site for the memorial.

A spokesman for the Co-operative Group said: “We are committed to finding a new home for this important memorial and we have agreed to cover the costs of its removal and resiting.”