Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Eastney Falklands Yomper statue move criticised

Yomper Statue Image copyright Barry Shimmon
Image caption The Yomper statue was unveiled to mark the 10th anniversary of the Falklands conflict

Plans to move a statue depicting a Royal Marine in the Falklands conflict away from Portsmouth seafront have been criticised.

The Yomper statue is currently located in front of the Royal Marines Museum at Eastney.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy has started consulting over a proposed move to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Campaigners insist it is a local memorial to the conflict and "belongs" at Eastney.

The Yomper statue was created by Philip Jackson, depicting a royal marine marching across the islands during the 1982 conflict and was unveiled by former prime minister, Lady Thatcher, in 1992.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) is planning to relocate the Royal Marines Museum from Eastney to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard as part of a £13m lottery funded project and wants to take the statue with it.

'Graced the seafront'

An online petition against moving the statue has attracted more than 1,800 signatories, saying it was "now considered as our local Falklands War Memorial".

Sheila Mackie who set it up said: "The imposing scale of The Yomper needs space and adequate distance to be fully appreciated, and the visualization of the part in the major campaign that the statue represents couldn't be achieved in an interior space."

Conservative-led Portsmouth City Council also voted to express a "clear preference" that the statue remain where it it is.

Its motion stated: "The Yomper statue has graced the seafront for many years, serving as a reminder of both the Falklands War and of the Marines' historical association with Eastney."

NMRN director Jon Rawlinson said the new museum site would potentially have 750,000 visitors a year, compared to 40,000 at the current museum.

"He would be seen by far more people at the historic dockyard, but of course he was built for here [Eastney] and is part of here. "

He said no decision had been made and it would consider all comments submitted to its public consultation.

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