A former borough councillor says he is “extremely sad” that the latest edition of Your Croydon, described by Croydon Council as its “main source of community news”, has completely failed to make any mention of the centenary commemorations of the end of World War I.
Even the council’s own civic ceremonies for the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day – when what was supposed to be the “war to end all wars” came to an end – have been omitted from the publicly funded publication.
Remembrance Sunday this year is on November 11.
In what is an extraordinary editorial omission, the “Autumn 2018” edition of the council’s magazine, distributed to 155,000 households around the borough in the past fortnight, features a column on the index page from council leader Tony Newman under the heading: “Culture at the heart of regeneration”.
The generations that laid down their lives in the cause of freedom over the past 100 years might be less convinced by Newman’s empty rhetoric about the future, as the publication for which he is responsible has completely forgotten about the borough’s past.
“So much for ‘We will remember them’,” one Katharine Street source told Inside Croydon this week.
Chris Wright, the former Conservative councillor in Coulsdon is the chair of his neighbourhood’s World War I group which is organising a week-long series of commemorative events.
Today, he said, “I am very disappointed and extremely sad that there is no mention in this magazine, which is delivered to every home in the borough, of the commemoration and celebration of the 1918 Armistice, or the many special events being held throughout the borough and the recognition of the part played by Croydon residents in World War I.
“We in Old Coulsdon have planned a special Armistice Week including a large exhibition and unique films leading up to a special Remembrance Service and War Memorial wreath-laying on Sunday November 11, when we remember with pride the local residents who gave their lives in the war and the sacrifices made by them and their families.”
There is more than a suggestion in Wright’s comments that the council’s media department’s failure to include anything at all about Remembrance Sunday in its quarterly publication is signal of the Town Hall’s lack of respect for the borough’s heritage and history.
Coulsdon, Sanderstead, Addiscombe and other areas of Croydon have worked with the Royal British Legion over the past three months to have large poppies adorning their streets to mark the final 100 days of World War I. And since 2014, the Museum of Croydon has marked the dreadful toll of the Great War by remembering the death, every day, of service personnel from that conflict.
Yet the council’s media department – run at a cost of around £500,000 per year – has overlooked this significant centenary.
“I would have hoped that this commemoration could at least have a mention in the council’s ‘main source of community news’,” Wright said.
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