The War Memorial in Brighton was in a “disgraceful” state on VJ Day, prompting an angry broadside from the former leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.
Mary Mears wrote to fellow councillors and senior officials about “how disgusting and unkempt” the Old Steine memorial and gardens were.
VJ Day on Saturday (15 August) marked the 75th anniversary of “Victory over Japan” and the official end of the Second World War.
Up to 85 million people died as a result of the six-year war, including 450,000 British men and women and millions from countries now forming the British Commonwealth. A further 376,000 British military personnel were wounded.
The mayor of Brighton and Hove also commemorated VJ Day. Councillor Alan Robins marked the occasion at the War Memorial in Portslade.
Councillor Mears wrote: “Today is VJ Day, a national event to mark the end of World War II.
“As Chairman of Brighton and Hove Royal British Legion, I attended with my standard bearer to lay a wreath at the Old Steine War Memorial.
“I have attached some photos showing the disgraceful state of the War Memorial.
“There are nearly 3,000 names listed. What a terrible way to honour our fallen.
“It is not necessary for councillors to answer that they don’t support war.
“VJ Day is not about celebrating war but to mark the end of World War II and to remember all these men and woman who lost their lives to give us peace so you can voice your opinion.
“Some members of the public stopped to pay their respects and remarked how disgusting and unkempt the War Memorial was and clearly the council could not care less about its upkeep.
“As someone born and raised in Brighton I could not agree more.”
The former Conservative leader said: “In all my years I’ve never seen it so bad.
“People have left food and drink leftovers and wrappers on the grass although to be fair there was a cleaner litter picking.
“VJ Day marked was the end of the Second World War 75 years ago. A lot of people called the war in the east the ‘forgotten war’.
“It’s a shame the council seems to has forgotten it – and the sacrifice made by all those who lost their lives.
“It’s a national event. They should have at least made it look as though they cared.
“They’ve got the time for cycle lanes but not to power wash the pavement. It’s no way to remember them.”
The council said: “We are sorry for the poor appearance of the Old Steine War Memorial on VJ day last weekend and the distress this has caused.
“We always prepare the memorial for Remembrance Week and we apologise that this date was missed as VJ day has not been commemorated locally in previous years.
“The memorial had been jet washed last month but had clearly deteriorated since then.
“We have an annual programme of remembrance events and, to ensure the memorial looks at its best, the preparation and cleaning of the Old Steine War Memorial is programmed to begin on Monday 2 November.
“We are currently arranging a full clean of the War Memorial by our specialist stone contractors as soon as possible.”
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