Council one step closer to motto change

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PLANS to switch the motto on the town’s coat of arms back to Ex Terra Lucem were given all-party backing at last week’s full council meeting.

But, ultimately, it will be up to the people of St Helens to decide.

The issue was brought into sharp focus last summer when the Latin phrase - which means “out of earth - light” and was removed from the coat of arms in 1974 - inspired a sculptor to create the cauldron of petals for the Olympic flame.

It was also cited by the Olympic opening ceremony’s script writer, Rainhill-born Frank Cottrell Boyce, as a major influence.

Council leader Marie Rimmer was among those to recommend a return to Ex Terra Lucem from Prosperitas in Excelsis, or “flourishing well”.

She said: “I was very saddened when the old motto was changed. Ex Terra Lucem is held very dear to many people’s hearts. If the public consultation comes back as most of us hope it will, we will hopefully return to Ex Terra Lucem. I hope the public respond favourably.”

Tory councillor David Monk agreed: “It would be nice to see the old motto come back to St Helens. We fully support this.”

And Lib Dem councillor Neil Taylor also spoke up in support of the proposed switch.

He said: “It should never have been changed in the first place. The problem with the current motto is that it’s not clear what it means - it could mean anything.

“Ex Terra Lucem really epitomises both St Helens’ past and its future. My only concern is the potential cost implications. In the long term, surely there will be a cost to change all the old mottos on the carpets and paperwork?”

“However I wholeheartedly support this.”