Fears for the safety of war veterans have been raised ahead of a major ceremony in Staffordshire due to a pothole-pitted road.
The Anzac Day service at Cannock Chase is the largest in the UK and attended by dignitaries from New Zealand and Australia who fly over specially.
It sees around 200 ex-servicemen, including upto 80 standard bearers, take part in an annual parade on April 25.
However, Royal British Legion chiefs have called the condition of one of the access roads they have to march along “a disgrace”. Organisers say the potholes are so large that it is not safe for their members, some in their 80s and 90s, to take part. The ceremony commemorates the First World War Gallipoli landing in 1915 by Australian and New Zealand soldiers. It takes place at the Chase’s Commonwealth War Cemetery, where 73 New Zealanders and 24 Australians are buried, and the pothole-covered route in question is just off Camp Road.
Derek Ellison, chairman of the RBL’s Hednesford branch, said: “The road is a disgrace. Our standard bearers have to look forward when they are marching, they can’t look down. There could be a disaster if nothing is done.”
Secretary John Richards has written to the county council’s highways department, the district council and the War Graves Commission over the issue.
“It is an unadopted road so no one will take responsibility for it. I’ve been trying for three years and the road has been getting worse each year,” he said.
The council said the road was a bridleway and came under the rights of way department.
But highways leader Mike Maryon said he was grateful to be alerted to the problem.
An inspector would be sent out to the road over the next few days and a team would then fill in the holes, he said.