Pledge to name building after Eastbourne war hero is broken

HOR 240507 Henry Allingham, 110 year old man at Towers Convent, Upper Beeding -photo by steve cobb MAYOAK0003457849
HOR 240507 Henry Allingham, 110 year old man at Towers Convent, Upper Beeding -photo by steve cobb MAYOAK0003457849

A pledge to name a new building in the town centre after a 113-year-old Eastbourne war hero is now not to be honoured.

Churchill Retirement Homes announced in 2016 its new development on the former Caffyn’s garage site in Upperton Road would be named after Henry Allingham, who was an Eastbourne resident, one of the last surviving British veterans of the First World War, a founder member of the RAF and the last man to have witnessed the Battle of Jutland.

Burlington Lodge, Upperton Road SUS-190404-131928001

Burlington Lodge, Upperton Road SUS-190404-131928001

But this week it appears the name was changed to Burlington Lodge and a spokesperson for Churchill Retirement Living said it was due to “circumstances outside their control”.

Construction is underway on the new development on the corner of Upperton Road and The Avenue and three years ago a competition was held to find a new name for the retirement complex.

Eastbourne resident Rosemary Skiggs came up with the winning name of Henry Allingham and was presented with a cheque for £100 at a special naming ceremony.

Mrs Skiggs said at the time, “Henry was a great example of long life in Eastbourne. Born in 1896, he was 113 when he passed away in 2009. He was a wonderful character and I think this is a lovely way to remember him.”

Burlington Lodge 2 SUS-190404-090312001

Burlington Lodge 2 SUS-190404-090312001

A spokesperson from Churchill Retirement Living told the Herald this week, “We have a great deal of admiration for Henry Allingham and we sincerely regret the change of name for our new development, which had to be made due to circumstances outside our control.

“This was unfortunate and we certainly did not intend to cause any offence to Henry’s family and his memory. We felt the name Burlington Lodge was a suitable alternative with a connection to the local area.”

The spokesperson said he could not elaborate on what the circumstances outside their control were.