New resting place for Southsea memorial benches

12.07.22
The Southsea Coastal Scheme has gifted a temporary seating area to the owners of 25 memorial benches that were recently removed during construction of vital sea defences around Southsea Castle. Two new benches displaying all the removed memorial plaques have been installed by the Rock Gardens on Southsea promenade. Once construction work is complete, the plaques will be placed on new seating as close as possible to their original locations. Southsea Coastal Scheme Project Director Guy Mason said: "In recognition of the sensitivities involved in removing these very personal benches, we reached out to the community to offer this temporary resting place. "The new seating will display all the original plaques and will complement the new promenade, which will be much wider and more accessible." Memorial bench owner Pamela Charlwood said: "I very much welcome the plan to temporarily locate the plaques and being able to visit. It sounds as if my father may be close to some of his old swimming buddies there, whose benches are just west of the lifeguard hut. "I look forward to my father’s plaque being on the new seating near Southsea Castle as the location was very important to him and to all the family." Cllr Steve Pitt, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development said: "The sensitivity with which the team is treating the memorial benches is a testament to their commitment to ensure that every care is taken to respect those elements of our seafront that have very personal connections for so many people." As the Southsea Coastal Scheme progresses along other areas of the seafront, more memorial benches will need to be removed in order for construction work to progress. Bench owners will be contacted, where possible, and the memorial plaques will be temporarily relocated until new seating along the seafront is complete. Anyone with questions regarding the benches affected can contact the Scheme directly by emailing southseacoastalscheme@portsmouthcc.gov.uk