Tory claims ‘V for Victory’ in war memorial flower row – but Labour says red blooms will be back

Cleadon Councillor Jeff Milburn with the newly planted flower beds around the village's War Memorial.
Cleadon Councillor Jeff Milburn with the newly planted flower beds around the village's War Memorial.
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A councillor is delighted that ‘messy’ poppies have vanished from a South Tyneside village’s war memorial has been told they will return.

Coun Jeff Milburn has spent recent months complaining about the state of the memorial in Front Street, Cleadon Village.

Poppies were planted at the site last year after a special consultation to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.

However, the Cleadon and East Boldon Tory deemed them a mess and wanted them gone.

Coun Milburn has now had his wish granted – albeit for the short term – as bedding plants have been put in place.

He said: “I am claiming a V for Victory, the poppies and the weeds have gone and these much nicer bedding plants are now in place.

“I think this is a much nicer way and more fitting way to remember our village’s war heroes.

“It’s far more tidy and shows the respect our war dead deserve.”

However, Coun Milburn’s victory will be shortlived, as the poppies are set to return next year.

A bemused Coun Joan Atkinson, who was in favour of the iconic red flowers being planted, said: “I do hope Coun Milburn realises the poppies are self-seeding and they have only gone because they’ve bloomed for the year, but they will be back.

“Like with most gardens at home people tend to ‘fill in the gaps’ with other plants and flowers and that’s what’s happened here with the bedding plants.

“This also happened last year, so it’s not a new thing which is occurring.

“Everyone I know loved the poppies and thought they were a fitting tribute.”

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council added: “The poppies were part of remembrance mixes that were in place to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. The poppies provided a great display for most of the summer but have now reached the end of their life.

“They have now been replaced with bedding plants.”