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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Pilgrimages to Cumbrian man's slag bank memorial cross

People have been making a “pilgrimage” to a cross placed in tribute on top of a slag bank.

Peter Nelson cross photo
The memorial cross

Related: Council orders Cumbrian man to take down memorial cross

Support for the metal and wooden cross – likened by its creator to the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro – has been gathering momentum, with one visitor to the Workington slag banks claiming the car park was “over-flowing” yesterday.

Peter Nelson erected the 9ft cross more than a month ago, in memory of Angela, his wife of 24 years.

However, he did not apply for planning permission for the crucifix and Cumbria County Council have now called on him to pull it down.

The cross has been the talking point of the town – with some residents even starting up a book of support in Tesco – with many people calling on the council not to be so heartless.

Mr Nelson, 49, of Vulcans Lane, told the News & Star that he was in the process of applying for retrospective planning permission for the cross, and had no intention of removing it.

“It is like the Redeemer in Rio – somewhere nice to go and sit,” he insisted. “I have directed it towards the centre of Workington, so it looks towards the town.

“I feel closer to God and my wife up there; it is where we used to walk, picnic and sit.”

Mr Nelson continued: “I don’t believe it is just mine now – the people of Workington have taken it into their hearts.

“I donated it to the people of Workington by putting it there and concreting it in place.

“It is for the people of Workington to decide what they want to do with it.”

One man, who did not want to be named, told the News & Star that he had been to see the cross in his wheelchair.

“The car park is full, it’s overflowing,” he claimed. “People are walking there, taking their dogs – it’s like a pilgrimage to go and see it.

“Everyone is doing it in support of this man – he’s doing a wonderful thing for the town.”

A petition with nearly 2,000 signatures has already been lodged with the county council, which owns the land, calling for the cross to stay.

A charity walk will be held a week on Sunday for people to come together and show their solidarity.

A spokesman for Cumbria County Council previously said that it recognised the “passionate feelings both for and against the cross”.

“It was erected without permission from the county council or planning approval from Allerdale Council,” the spokesman continued.

“After careful consideration we’ve spoken with Mr Nelson and requested that he removes it.

“Anyone wanting to put up a structure of this nature must first obtain planning permission.”

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