Memorial bench vandalism

HOR 171011 Vandalised memorial bench. Widower Roy Nightingale on the vandalised bench in memory of his late wife Mary. photo by derek martin
HOR 171011 Vandalised memorial bench. Widower Roy Nightingale on the vandalised bench in memory of his late wife Mary. photo by derek martin

A ROFFEY man was ‘angry’ and ‘upset’ when he discovered his mother’s memorial bench had been vandalised on Sunday October 16.

Steven Rogers, of Moorhead Road, erected the bench on Broadbridge Heath Common - at the cost of more than £800 - in May 2007 after Mary Nightingale died from cancer the previous year.

Mr Rogers was washing the memorial this weekend when he noticed the names ‘Duncan’ and ‘Tom’ carved into the right arm.

“It’s desecration of a grave,” he said, “me and my partner went yesterday (Sunday 16) because we like to keep it clean, and as I was washing the arm I saw it was covered in scratch marks.

“To me it’s really upsetting. I was quite angry at the time but not so much any more.

“I just want them to know that it’s going to take time and cost money to correct this. They need to be told this is not a good thing to do.

“If this is allowed to pass by they will do something else, possibly far worse next time.”

He added: “I’m not blaming children but I’m positive it’s someone young. There are two names carved into the left arm and I hope somebody knows them and can come forward.”

Mr Rogers explained how the memorial has suffered little damage since it was placed on the greenery in Broadbridge Heath nearly five years ago.

It is not known exactly when the vandalism took place, however, Mr Rogers believes it may have been in the last week as he makes regular trips to the memorial and did not notice anything on his last visit.

Widower Roy Nightingale, of Broadbridge Heath, said: “It’s upsetting but what do you expect these days? Kids are bored, someone’s just sat down and started doodling.

“To be honest I’m surprised it’s lasted as long as it has.

“As a carpenter I will be able to fix this, I will scrap it off and stain it again. What else can you do?”

Rachel Carr, Acting Inspector for Horsham Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We are aware of the incident and have been in contact with those affected.

“Our local PCSOs have asked local residents to keep their ear to the ground. Although there are names carved into the bench we can’t guarantee that they are the names of the people who did this.

“We are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information can contact us on 0845 60 70 999 quoting serial number 0885 16/10/11.”