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Honour memories of Chapel plaques, call

PUBLISHED: 10:37 09 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:23 30 June 2010

AN emotional plea has been made for the memories of eight people represented by plaques in the grounds of a Great Yarmouth chapel to be honoured.

Val Howkins, a former St George's Theatre committee member, called for some form of memorial, such as a roll of honour, to be included in the design of the King Street theatre, now referred to as St George's Chapel, which is currently being revamped in a borough council-led £8m project.

AN emotional plea has been made for the memories of eight people represented by plaques in the grounds of a Great Yarmouth chapel to be honoured.

Val Howkins, a former St George's Theatre committee member, called for some form of memorial, such as a roll of honour, to be included in the design of the King Street theatre, now referred to as St George's Chapel, which is currently being revamped in a borough council-led £8m project.

In 1981, she organised for memorial trees and plaques to be placed in the grounds in memory of local people who had died, with cash donated by the grieving relatives.

Among those were her own son, David, who died aged 18, and a second world war veteran who had emigrated to Australia.

Mrs Howkins said: “When I saw the trees and plaques had been removed I stood and wept. The people who are still alive and donated money are heartbroken about what has happened.”

They were removed last year as regeneration work began to turn the Grade I listed baroque building into a concert and theatre venue. A pavilion will be added on the pedestrianised St George's Plain housing a café/bar, toilets and front-of-house ticket sales for the venue with an outdoor performance area helping to animate the Plain.

But Ms Howkins said: “It is just the fact these people who have given their money to me have been robbed of their memorials. A roll of honour would be an alternative solution to having the plaques and trees reinstated. It is not enough, but it is better than nothing.”

She said the borough council had not responded to a letter calling for their memories to be honoured.

A separate appeal has been launched for a “Hiroshima Tree” to be reinstated, which was planted in the grounds of the old theatre to mark the thousands who died during the atom bombing of Japan which ended the second world war.

This tree has also been removed, but former Belton Parish Council chairman Malcolm Scott has been fighting to get it back and is waiting to hear from the borough council whether there will be space for the tree at the revamped chapel.

If not, an alternative site for it could be in the nearby St George's Park.


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