OSWESTRY war poet Wilfred Owen should be the centre of the town’s World War One commemorations, councillors have said, and efforts should be made to ensure any ideas that do materialise become a permanent feature in the town.
Calling on his fellow members to take “a lead role” in the commemorations, Councillor Stephen Haworth said more should be done to remember Wilfred Owen.
He said: “When a hero lays down their life, it is important where they began that life. Wilfred Owen is a son of Oswestry and I very much suspect will be one of the central figures of the World War One commemorations.
“Oswestry I feel has not done Wilfred Owen that proud. In recent years there has been a flurry of activities, but I do think if we are to do something for Wilfred Owen I do not think we should just do something that is just for the 1914-18 anniversary, it should go on beyond those commemorations and should be substantial – we cannot do this half-heartedly,” he added.
His comments came after members of the town council were approached by Wilfred Owen enthusiast John Waine, from The Best of Oswestry, for their thoughts on how the anniversary could be marked.
Mr Waine’s proposals seek to incorporate the Oswestry Tourism Action Plan, which has already outlined proposals to create a permanent Wilfred Owen tribute, including a trail or annual event, as well as providing a publicity boost and increased footfall.
Members agreed to host a public meeting in the near future to move the plans forward, while Cllr Cynthia Hawksley added that the commemorations should follow a similar line to the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of last year.
l The proposal came as long-standing Councillor Owen Jones called for Wilfred Owen’s name to be placed on the War Memorial at Cae Glas Park.
Cllr Owen said: “Last year we decided to refurbish the Park Gates. In view of next year’s commemorations we could carry out that work and add the name of Wilfred Owen to the list of names on the memorial pillars.”
The motion was supported by Cllr Stephen Haworth, who said it may need investigating due to Owen’s connections with other areas, but added: “If possible, I think we should do it.”
Members agreed to take the idea forward, however, Cllr Cynthia Hawksley voted against it due to fears other people could ask for their relatives’ names to be added.