EX TERRA LUCEM has been restored as the town’s motto - after councillors backed a motion at St Helens Town Hall last night.

It followed a campaign, backed by the Star, and a public consultation exercise run online by St Helens Council, which offered resounding support for a change.

A campaign for the Latin phrase to return grew after it featured prominently in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.

The ceremony’s scriptwriter, Frank Cottrell Boyce, who grew up and went to school in St Helens, says the motto was woven into the DNA of the event after he put it on the creative team’s ideas board.

The phrase – translated ‘Out of Earth – Light’ – played a part in some of the industrial scenes of Danny Boyle’s jaw-dropping spectacle and influenced sculptor Sir Thomas Heatherwick’s beautiful cauldron of 204 copper petals.

It had been dropped from the St Helens coat of arms in 1974 after the re-organisation of the local government boundaries and replaced by Prosperitas in Excelsis (Flourishing Well). But many – including St Helens rugby league club – still revere the poetic phrase and there has been support for it to be reintroduced.

An online consultation launched by St Helens Council drew 143 responses, with 89 per cent strongly in favour, five per cent in favour, three per cent strongly opposed and three per cent not bothered either way.

Full report to follow

Here’s a flavour of the responses that St Helens Council received during the consultation...

For • “I was born 76 years ago in St Helens Lancashire with the motto Ex Terra Lucem as our town’s motto. What reason is there against having it reinstated? It is our birthright. Our location has already been stolen once, so bring our motto home again.”

• “Should never have been changed in the first place Ex Terra Lucem is part of our heritage, as much as coal, glass and rugby.”

• “The motto of St Helens should reflect its tradition and its future. 'Ex Terra Lucem' does this perfectly and is now nationally known.”

• “Would be great to go back to a motto that means something to the town.”

• “I refuse to accept that we should ignore our heritage in this town. We've already lost so much. The canals should be rejuvenated and Parkside’s gates turned into a memorial. What is our identity now apart from Saints?”

• “Give our town its guiding light back! It was never yours to take away!”

Against • “I think the cost has been underestimated. Just changing the motto might only incur a nominal fee, but what about the cost of changing all of our literature that displays the motto, or any signage?”

• “Please publish the total cost of this move. With budget cuts still affecting the whole of the borough, is this really an appropriate use of taxpayer’s money?”

• “Saying that there is 'a groundswell of local opinion' is farcical. There was a groundswell of local opinion opposed to the closure of the pool at Sutton but that was ignored. Listening when you want to rather than all of the time.”