YEOVIL NEWS: Benches planned to commemorate major events

YEOVIL NEWS: Benches planned to commemorate major events

COMMEMORATIVE benches could be installed in Yeovil town centre to mark the 75th anniversaries of VE Day and VJ Day and the current ongoing “war” against coronavirus.

The big commemorative events planned for these two important milestone occasions – which marked the end of hostilities in Europe and Japan to signal the end of the Second World War in 1945 - have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

There are hopes that something can be held at a later date when it is safe to do so, but in the meantime Cllr Andy Kendall, of Yeovil Town Council, has suggested that commemoratives benches should be placed in the town.

Cllr Kendall, speaking at the council’s buildings and civic matters committee on July 21 via the Zoom conferencing technology, suggested that the benches could be funded as part of the authority’s New Initiatives budget.

He has said that a bench for VE Day could be installed by the War Memorial in the Borough, while a bench for VJ Day could be placed somewhere else in the town.

Both benches would have to get the approval of the Yeovil Refresh project team which is looking to give the town centre a much-needed makeover.

Cllr Kendall has also suggested that the council provides a third commemorative bench for the garden at Yeovil District Hospital in recognition of the NHS efforts during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“This has been a battle with coronavirus and the NHS has been our army at the moment,” he told councillors.

The Mayor, Cllr David Recardo, said: “I would support this – it’s a very good idea.”

And Cllr Tony Lock added: “I think this is a good idea and all three benches should be supported in principle.”

Councillors agreed that they would obviously have to get the backing of Yeovil District Hospital and the Yeovil Refresh project team to take the matter forward.

Cllr Kendall said: “I’m just bringing this to the committee and to see if people think it is a good idea.”

He said that further discussions could take place at a later date with the hospital about the bench. “Deciding whether it goes indoors, outdoors, upstairs or downstairs doesn’t need to be discussed tonight,” he said.

Cllr David Gubbins said: “I fully agree with Cllr Kendall and I think it’s a good initiative and needs to be looked into.”

Cllr Lock added: “This is the sort of thing this committee should be doing. We support it in principle, but we need to highlight certain things that need to be taken into consideration.

“We need to highlight some of the pitfalls and obviously this isn’t going to happen overnight.”

Town clerk Amanda Card told councillors that the council had £10,500 in its budget for new initiatives.

The council’s policy, resources and finance committee also backed the project at its meeting on July 28.