A special committee, set up by the Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council to initiate and organise events in connection with the 100th anniversary of the First World War, has thrown in the towel and surrendered.
The committee was originally established in April 2014 and was supposed to come up with ideas to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War, some of the major events during the 4-year conflict and to bring four years of events to a close with next year’s 100th anniversary of the end of the “War to End All Wars” .
The committee was “hosted and administrated” by Penarth Town Council and included councillors, so-called “stakeholders” and representatives of various local organisations.
Penarth Town Council regarded this committee as being so important that ordinary members of the public were not allowed to sit-in on its meetings. The committee said at the time it would be co-ordinating a “myriad of events” to mark the anniversary of the outbreak of the war, The then Town Mayor declared “Penarth can be proud of the unique way we are working together to orchestrate future events”.
Journalists were ordered to leave the first meeting and were banned from attending subsequent discussions. The chairman of the Penarth Council of Churches, Keith Howells, was so incensed by the committee’s attitude to reporters he walked out of the meeting .
However now – three years on – the committee has run out of steam, and can’t come up with any ideas for marking the historic day in 1918 when the guns fell silent.
In an internal report to the council, the Town Clerk, Emma Boylan, says “A lack of potential projects arose from this group, and attendance had declined. A decision was taken among all members to suspend meetings until such a time as a suitable commemorative project was presented. This remains the current status “
The only idea left behind by the moribund committee is to plant an oak tree – somewhere or other – nobody knows where.
The tree may be provided free of charge by the Woodland Trust – from whom “a decision is expected imminently” .