Honour Blackburn hero who fought in two wars
CALLS have been made for a Victoria Cross-winning war hero to be given a special paving stone in his home town.
Ten soldiers from East Lancashire will be commemorated as part of a Government-funded initiative to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.
Blackburn’s William Grimbaldeston, John Schofield and Percy Dean will all have the honour in the town, but some have argued that veteran James Pitts should also be commemorated.
Mr Pitts was awarded the Victoria Cross during the Boer War in 1900 and went on to fight in the First World War.
But having not received his medal during the later conflict, he does not qualify for the Government scheme.
Among those calling for Mr Pitts to be recognised are Roy Ashworth and his wife, Irene, of Whitebirk.
Mr Ashworth said: “Surely Blackburn with Darwen Council could, and should, in the interest of its citizens who have elected them, fund an extra paving slab for this very brave man. It is a disgrace to the elected council members if they are reluctant to dip into their own pockets on this occasion.
“Let’s face it, how much would it cost to honour one of their own past members?
“Let us not forget those who have gone before us, it is the town’s heritage.”
Ex-soldier Eddie Duxbury, former chairman of the Bank Top Community Association, said something should be done to remember Mr Pitts.
He said: “I think these old soldiers of ours that have shown a lot of bravery should be remembered, especially these days.
“At the time they gave their best and many gave their lives for Britain and they should be recognised for that.
“We should do everything possible to recognise the heroes of our past.”
Blackburn with Darwen Council bosses did not rule out the possibility if it was properly approached.
Coun Arshid Mahmood, executive member for neighbourhoods, housing and customer services, said: “We are always looking to work with residents who contact the council with new ideas and suggestions, and will look at all options available, mindful of the tough economic times which we face.”
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