Together with Local Councillor, Chris Penberthy, I have launched a campaign to see Charles Church properly lit up in time for next year's VE and VJ Day celebrations.
"Charles Church is an iconic symbol of civilian courage and fortitude and I want to see it placed at the heart of the city's remembrance activities. The current lighting on the church needs updating. Along with Cllr Penberthy I am calling for more investment in the Church so it is appropriately lit all year round.”
“City planners decades ago did the city a disservice by encircling the bombed out ruins in a roundabout. Chris and I would ultimately like to see the City Council take steps to open up Charles Church and its ground to pedestrians without them having to run the gauntlet of crossing a busy road. Properly lighting up the church is a first step towards opening up this space as an accessible place of remembrance."
- Luke Pollard
During the nights of 21 and 22 March 1941, the church was entirely burned out by incendiary bombs. After the war the Church was left as a memorial to the 1,200 civilian dead of Plymouth killed in the war. The post-war design of Plymouth City Centre preserved the Church but within a new roundabout.
Cllr Chris Penberthy, who represents St Peter and the Waterfront ward which includes the church, said: "Like me, many local families lost relatives in the blitz of Plymouth. Charles Church is a living memorial to the 1,200 civilian deaths in the air raids of the Second World War and we need to treat it with appropriate respect. Residents have told me that since the building of Drake Circus and Jury's Inn the church doesn't have the prominence it once did. Local businesses and residents are all in favour of investment in properly lighting up the church shell. Luke and I will be pushing for Charles Church to be added to the list of landmarks that already include Smeaton's Tower on the Hoe, that will be properly lit up as part of the City Council's investment in our heritage.”
Chris and I have arranged a meeting with Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr Mark Lowry, to discuss the proposals next week.
Let me know what you think about the campaign to properly light up Charles Church by contacting me.
The Herald have a piece on their site about the launch of the campaign here.