Campaigners submit petition to have South Shields’ Temple Park recognised as country’s largest war memorial park

Campaigners have submitted a petition to the council as the fight to have Temple Park recognised as an official war memorial continues.

Saturday, 18th January 2020, 8:00 am
The Friends of Temple Memorial Park, South Shields, are petitioning for a dedicated plaque in the park informing people of its war memorial status. Pictured l-r are Maura Freeman, Jim Kale, Trevor and Margaret Watson.

The Friends of Temple Memorial Park group, formed in 2018, has been campaigning to have the 175 acre site recognised by the council.

If successful, they say it would make it the biggest war memorial park in the country, with the largest currently listed as Coventry at 120 acres.

Temple Memorial Park, which was gifted to residents by the church commissioners in recognition of their war-time efforts, has an existing plaque stating that it was named after the late Archbishop William Temple in 1961.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The existing plaque in Temple Memorial Park, South Shields.

But while the park has been registered with the North East War Memorials Project, until it has a dedication plaque, it cannot be placed on the Imperial War Museum register.

In July 2018 the group was asked to submit the wording for a plaque to be checked by the council’s legal team, but they say they haven’t received a response.

Now they have handed a petition to the council in a bid to get some answers.

“We can’t understand the reluctance on behalf of the council,” said chairperson, Margaret Watson.

“Other parts of the town are protected and the park is such an asset to the community, at a time when it is known how beneficial open spaces are to people’s mental health.”

She added: “We just want to work with the council and make sure the park gets its recognition.”

South Tyneside Council confirmed they would be responding in due course.

A spokesperson said: “The Council very much values the contribution of community groups across the borough and the work they carry out to add value to the Council’s objectives.

"The petition has been received and will be responded to in line with the Council’s petition process.

"Given the large number of volunteer and friends groups that we have in South Tyneside, a Volunteer Handbook is in the final stages of development, which will formalise arrangements across the Borough. Until this is complete, no key decisions regarding volunteer groups will be made.

"We have already met with the Friends of Temple Memorial Park and made them aware of the above points."