OPINION: Respect our memorial

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It was only yesterday that this newspaper featured the moments when the few remaining veterans of D-Day paid their respects at the war memorial to those who lost their lives in World War Two.

Just 48 hours later there will be a demonstration of a totally different kind at the same monument as members of the English Defence League return to the city to lay a wreath in memory of Lee Rigby, hacked to death on the streets of Woolwich. But instead of the quiet respect that we saw as the veterans were led by a lone bugler, it will be a ceremony that takes place in the heat of a hate-fuelled atmosphere as members of the Unite Against Fascism stage a counter demonstration around the corner in the Peace Gardens. What we are appealing for is for the memories of those who are remembered at the War Memorial and the memory of Lee Rigby to be respected. The war memorial is a sanctuary of peace and quiet homage – it is not a place for violence or hate – both are imposters. We hope that the demonstrations pass off peacefully, that the police are not called on to do anything other than steward the events, that traders can still trade and shoppers can go about their normal business. And lastly, that this whole saga, that is costing us hundreds of thousands of pounds, doesn’t happen again.

victory for both sides

Thankfully we have a solution to the campaign to save Stocksbridge Leisure Centre that suits all sides. First of all, well done to the campaigners who have fought so hard to save the centre. And secondly well done to the city council for finding a way to work with the campaigners to preserve a facility that is so desperately needed in the town. The decision has staved off a costly judicial review and meant that the community can take control of the running of the centre. It is now time to move on and for both sides to continue to work together and the council to provide support to ensure that the leisure centre continues to provide the facilities for the community.