Shropshire Star

Telford family determined to celebrate VE Day as anonymous neighbours criticise flags for 'bringing area down'

A Telford family have been left even more determined to celebrate VE Day after after receiving an anonymous letter criticising them for displaying patriotic flags.

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Nicola Slater outside her house with the flags and part of the letter, inset

Nicola Slater, of Lawley, and her family had decorated their home at St John's Walk with a Union Flag, a Saint George's Cross and a flag featuring a poppy in preparation for the 75th anniversary of VE Day this Friday.

But this morning her husband Mark awoke to find an anonymous tirade from an unhappy neighbour.

A letter left on the doorstep said: "Several residents have raised concerns with the offensive nature of the flags which you have put up in a well respected area.

"This is due disregard for your neighbours, the community and locality.

"If you have a need to express yourself, we suggest this be done with a more discreet flag and one of which [sic] is not such an eye sore and depreciates the area.

"We have made a formal complaint to Telford and Wreckin Council [sic] and we will escalate and take this further."

The letter received by the Slaters

The letter called the flags "useless, oversized, disgusting" and said "you are clearly not working parents/partners".

"We have paid several of [sic] thousands of pounds to live in this area, if you are renting, it explains your actions. If you own this house, it is shocking why you would do.

"This is not the first occasion where these flags have been raised – this was apparent during the world cup.

"We request with immediate affect [sic] these flags to be taken down – we will take this further."

The letter was signed "Lawley Village Residents" and dated April 24.

Nicola Slater with the flags in St John's Walk

Nicola, 50, has a Turkish father and lived in Istanbul, where she said she learned about the importance of diversity and respecting different beliefs.

She married Mark 14 years ago on May 16 and they have lived in Lawley for almost seven years.

Nicola, who runs travel agency Nix Global Travel Hub, said: "Getting that letter, it was quite shocking. My husband came in and showed me the letter – I couldn't believe it.

"I was absolutely shocked and angry. The more I read it the more I was getting angry.

"We did put a big English flag up [facing the main road from Wellington] but we did take that down because we thought it was a bit over the top [after the letter came]."

But she asked Telford and Wrekin Council about their stance, who she said encouraged her to carry on.

"I saw a post from the council encouraging people to decorate and celebrate for it.

"I was thinking 'have we stepped on the wrong feet?' I asked the council and they said it was okay."

Today she posted the letter on social media, and she said that people across Lawley have offered her support and put up more of their own decorations in solidarity, including several of her neighbours.

'They are actually like my friends'

"People have supported me and backed me up. They were absolutely disgusted.

"I was thinking 'how can you say that?' People around here know us, the letter is written like it's someone who doesn't know us.

"He sent it "on behalf of Lawley residents". I think it just takes it too far.

"All I wanted was for the person who sent the letter to privately message me. So far, nothing.

"I think the support I got, even not meeting most people, they are actually like my friends.

"I love that kind of community we have in Lawley village.

"If anything it made us more determined [to celebrate].

"You shouldn't really be taking it this personally, just let it go. Why even spoil others' pleasure or their beliefs?

"We have all kinds of people here. We all have to live together and respect each others' beliefs."

Several of the Slaters' neighbours are ex-military and the whole street plans to celebrate VE Day in their uniforms, sitting out on the street and enjoying scones and cakes.