Tributes to Polish air crash victims at memorial spark row

TRIBUTES to Polish air crash victims left on Eastbourne's war memorial have been labelled 'inappropriate' by some.

Flowers, candles, messages and a Polish flag dedicated to the 97 people – including the Polish president – who died in a plane crash on April 10 have sparked complaints to Eastbourne council from people who feel they should be removed.

The racks on the town's memorial which hold poppies on Armistice Day have been used for tributes and a message has been stuck to the stone of the memorial.

The mayor's office and council have confirmed that they have received a number of complaints from people who feel it is inappropriate to use a war memorial for such tributes.

Town centre resident Andre Winterton said, "It's completely inappropriate on a war memorial."

He added, "I've been to Poland and love Poland and I have no problem with Polish people being over here but this war memorial has been here since the end of the First World War to honour British and Commonwealth soldiers who gave their lives."

He added, "It's not for politicians."

Mr Winterton, who has complained to the mayor's office, fears a lack of action could set a precedent and suggest that the war memorial is a place for future tributes, outpourings of grief or even protests.

An Eastbourne Borough Council spokesperson said, "The council would never intend to devalue the town's war memorial but, after careful consideration and in recognition of the scale of tragedy in this case, it has been decided to allow memorial items from the Polish community to stay in place for a few days.

"Eastbourne has a large Polish community and they have needed to express the grief in some way.

"Last week a book of condolence was made available at the town hall for people to leave messages.

"As a council we do take on board all comments made about incidents like this but consider that our actions in this case have been fair and appropriate."