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Vandals destroy memorial bench in graveyard

The first incident of vandalism for 10 years in a church graveyard has left a memorial bench destroyed and visitors to the grounds upset.

The bench, a symbol of someone’s love and grief, was left in pieces following the thoughtless act at St Peter’s Church, which took place at some point after 8.30pm on Thursday, July 5.

The broken bench was so distressing for those visiting the graveyard, in Church Street, that the Rev Bill Jackson had to move the pieces to a shed.

Mr Jackson said: “On Friday morning people started coming in and saying how upset they were and how disgraceful it was.”

There are seven teak benches in the graveyard with a brass plate on the back with the name of a loved one.

The church has not yet been able to contact the lady who spent £500 on the one that was vandalised.

Mr Jackson said: “They will be extremely upset. I have been advised to see if there’s a carpenter, because they’ve kicked all of the pieces out of the joints and a good carpenter would be able to fix it.”

It is not known who might have done the damage but the graveyard is a right of way so it is always kept open for people to walk through.

“In good weather people will come and sit and have lunch on the benches,” he said. “People are really respectful of the graveyards, we sometimes get a few people having a can of beer but no damage.”

Mr Jackson said that a woman from the working men’s club next to the grave said she heard a man shouting at a woman that evening and it is thought he may have taken his anger out on the bench.

Thames Valley Police was contacted by the church, which gave it a reference number and said it may send someone to speak to the potential witness but Mr Jackson said this had not happened yet.

Contact police on 101 with any information quoting reference number 43180204813.

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