Daniel Yates: Designation will ensure memorials’ special status

Cllr Daniel Yates, Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council
Cllr Daniel Yates, Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council

In my role I spend a lot of time around the city, and when you visit schools, churches, workplaces, social clubs and a range of other groups, you will often see plaques or memorials with the names listed of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Those surnames may be from families still living in the city many generations after their relative died, and I look at them with great respect.

As a city we paid a great price in sons and daughters lost across many conflicts across many years. Families and communities are left grieving for those who were lost, as well as dealing with the impacts for those who returned quite rightly wanting to see such suffering remembered and further conflicts avoided.

The city also contains memorials to those who died from across our former empire. Their sacrifices are just as powerfully remembered today as they were at the time.

This week, as we remember the centenary of the end of World War One, it is a very positive piece of news that four of our city’s public memorials have been formally designated as Centenary Fields as part of the Centenary Fields programme.

Across the country many hundreds of places like our sites, Old Steine Gardens and War Memorial, Patcham Peace Gardens, the Chattri and Easthill Park War Memorial, will be given this important new designation to ensure their special status continues for future generations.

It is right and positive that four of our sites have been duly recognised, and I hope that in time this will provide them with even greater security, reverence and protection than currently.

I do find it astounding that we still need to have a sign on the war memorial and gardens at the Old Steine telling people not to swim in the fountain, and

any deliberate damage to memorials or graffiti is a real insult to the millions of mostly young people who gave their lives to protect ours.

This weekend, and of course each day across each year, many respectful people will spend time reflecting on the nature of the losses of these lives. Each name carries a story, a lost life and missed potential.

We will remember them.