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Memorial to be unveiled in Leicester Market

Published on Friday, March 16, 2018

A MEMORIAL to three Leicester men who fought against fascism in the Spanish Civil War is to be unveiled in the city’s Market Place.


The memorial stone, which will be placed in front of the Corn Exchange steps, will commemorate Fred Sykes, Roy Watts and Jack Watson, all of whom died in Spain as members of the International Brigades.


The stone is being unveiled on Good Friday, 30 March, by Marlene Sidaway, president of the International Brigade Memorial Trust (IBMT). The Trust works to keep alive the memory and spirit of the men and women from Britain, Ireland and elsewhere who volunteered to defend democracy and fight fascism in Spain from 1936 to 1939.


Lyn Hurst from the IBMT said: “People may be familiar with the Spanish stone in Peace Walk, which was erected 50 years after the Spanish civil war and dedicated to these three men.


“It is now more than 80 years since those events, and the political fight against fascism is just as real and important today as it ever was.


“As a way to continue this struggle and pay tribute to Fred Sykes, Roy Watts and Jack Watson, we wanted to place a stone at Leicester Market.


“Market Place is significant because Fred Sykes was arrested there, when campaigning against the attack on democracy in Spain, for ‘shouting and behaving in a disorderly way.’ The case was later dismissed.


“After he was killed in Spain, his comrades assembled in the market to remember him and pay tribute to his sacrifice.


“By placing a lasting memorial to these three men in the market, we’ll be reminding the citizens of Leicester that we all need to be vigilant against fascism and remember the sacrifice they made.”


The unveiling ceremony will include tribute speeches, songs and celebration and will begin at 1pm on Good Friday (30 March). It will be followed by a social event at Duffy’s Bar in Pocklington’s Walk.