‘We must remember Petworth Boys School bomb victims’

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Former Petworth Boys School pupil Don Simpson is fighting to ensure those who died when the school was bombed, are remembered as plans for houses on the school site go ahead.

87 year old Don Simpson, who was a pupil when the school was bombed in 1942, campaigned for the site to be left as a permanent memorial.

He was devastated when together with another site to the north, permission was given for 13 private and eight affordable homes in 2014.

He believed the land should be left as a permanent memorial to the 29 boys, two teachers and a nearby resident who died.

“We lost a generation that day and we should not forget that.

“The site is part of the history of Petworth and will ever remain so,” he said during his campaign. “To build on what is virtually a cemetery would be a sacrilege, rather the ground should be consecrated or some order placed that would prevent this desecration.”

Former clerk to Petworth Town Council, he and councillors tried to find a suitable use for the site in the 1990s but could only get agreement for a small memorial stone blessed by the bishop of Horsham, placed in front of what was the school entrance.

Last month Crownhall Estates won its appeal to have the affordable homes condition removed and development looks set to go ahead.

Last night (Thursday, November 17) Mr Simpson asked town councillors to help him ensure planning conditions are kept requiring developers to consult remove the stone is removed and on the site for its replacement after the new houses are built. They also have to carry out an archaeological survey before work begins and erect a memorial garden.

Chairman of the town council Chris Kemp said he shared Mr Simpson’s concerns and would seek a meeting with developers to ensure planning conditions were met.

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