OAP’s outrage over no D-Day service in Ilkeston

Ilkeston war memorial
Ilkeston war memorial

An outraged Ilkeston pensioner has slammed Erewash Borough Council for failing to organise an event marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings.

Eileen Peabody, of Newdigate Street, was angered further when she took a trip into town only to find that the cenotaph in the Market Place was covered up ready for maintenance work to be carried out.

She said: “For an anniversary so big to go by unnoticed is disgusting.

“The council should have got some sort of ceremony organised.

“There were people in this town who wanted to pay their respects and we had no way to do that.

“It’s disrespectful to all those that were involved.

“A town this size, there’s a lot of people who were alive then and some who would have been there. How are we meant to show our gratitude?”

The cenotaph has been under cover since earlier this year in preparation for refurbishment so it is up to scratch for centenary commemorations to mark the start of the First World War that are to be held later this year.

But Mrs Peabody argued: “This was a big day, you only had to switch on the TV to see what it meant to people, they could have removed the covers so people were able to lay flowers or just pay their respects.

“And as for the lack of event, not everyone can go to Normandy.

“It was really disappointing to me and a lot of people in the town were saying the same things.

“Remembrance Day in Ilkeston is always a big event and I’m sure this would have been just as big and as many people would have been there.”

The Advertiser asked Erewash Borough Council why a commemorative event hadn’t been organised.

We also aired Mrs Peabody’s concerns about the fact that the cenotaph remained covered up on the poignant 70th anniversary.

Cllr Mike Wallis, lead member for culture and leisure, said: “As a council we have focused on finding the money to clean and repair our war memorials in Ilkeston and Long Eaton.

“This is to ensure they are in the best possible condition and properly honour those who gave their lives for this country in all conflicts – and especially so in a year which has commemorated the D-Day Landings and will commemorate the outbreak of the First World War.

“We are also funding a new ‘War Gallery’ at our Erewash Museum (in Ilkeston) which will exhibit information and artefacts from both World Wars and other conflicts through to the current fighting in Afghanistan.

“There will be a Book of Remembrance for local residents and visitors to leave their reflections and messages.

“We plan a one- day event on Saturday July 26 at the museum to launch the gallery and hope residents will join us for this occasion.”