People Are Mad At "Hypocritical" Sainsbury’s For Planning To Demolish A WWI Memorial Site
The backlash comes after their winter campaign this year commemorates the Christmas Day truce between German and English soldiers in WWI.
Sainsbury's Christmas campaign this year depicts the famous Christmas day truce between German and English soldiers 100 years ago.
However, Sainsbury's are being accused of hypocrisy because of their plans to demolish a rugby stadium built in memory of rugby players who died in WWI.
A campaign has been mounted to prevent the supermarket from knocking down the Memorial Stadium in Bristol, which is currently the home of Bristol Rovers.
In a statement given the to The Sunday Times (paywall link), Diana Scrafton, the organiser of TRASHorfield, the group fighting against the proposed superstore, said:
While the nation watches the emotion-packed advert, the days are numbered for Bristol's largest war memorial."
This inspiring and poignant sports-ground tribute to 300 soldier-sportsmen who played the 'Greater Game' is to be demolished by Sainsbury's and replaced by a giant superstore
How can Sainsbury's do this in the centenary years of the Great War while exploiting the pathos of the Christmas Truce in 1914? Are the trenches of the western front to be memorialised as chilled food aisles? Will the tills fall silent on Remembrance Day?
A petition has been started to stop development on the ground.
Bristol Rovers are attempting to sell the ground because they want to move somewhere else.
Sainsbury's refuted the idea that they were operating double standards. In a statement they said:
We recognise that the site has historical importance, which is why our plans preserve the memorial stone and create a public square dedicated to the memory of former Bristol rugby players.
Additionally, Sainsbury's head of brand communications, Mark Given said that the commercial would help raise money for the Royal British Legion:
We've been delighted with the overwhelmingly positive response we've had from customers and colleagues,"
We partnered with the Royal British Legion . . . to ensure we tell this story with authenticity and respect.
We're selling in the region of 5,000 every hour of the chocolate bars we have made to help to raise additional funds for them.
Bristol Former Rugby Players Club have come out in support of the proposed new Sainsbury's, writing in The Bristol Post:
The Bristol Former Players committee has been involved in meetings with Sainsbury's staff and architects about the future of the Grade 2 listed memorial, the memorial gates and our remembrance service in November every year. Included in their plans, which have already been passed by the planning authorities, is a Memorial Square, which our committee has approved. It will feature the Bristol Rugby Coat of Arms and, subject to English Heritage approval, inscriptions on the memorial referring to the losses of life of local rugby players in conflicts since the Second World War. One of the units included in Sainsburys plans in likely to be available for community use, which hopefully could be made available to us on the days of our Annual Service.
The Bristol Former Players Society are fully behind the Sainsbury's scheme and the development of the site means that the monument will be restored ensuring the original dedication is maintained and it will continue as a fitting memorial to all rugby players who have given their lives for their country. The Bristol Former Players Society will continue to organise the annual service which will continue to be available to all the community and sports fraternity.