11:49AM, Thursday 12 July 2012
A replacement statue commemorating four Altwood School pupils who died on a ski trip will be officially unveiled at Ray Mill Island on Tuesday.
The Companions was re-cast after callous thieves stole the original. The £8,000 cost has been met after a public appeal for donations.
The original 4ft bronze was put there to commemorate Lee Powell, 15, Andrew Watts, 14, Daniel Howton, 14 and Michael Taylor ,13 who died on a trip to the Austrian Alps in 1988. It had been funded by public donations.
The dedication service at 10.30am will be attended by relatives of the boys, who have also extended an open invitation to anyone who contributed to the replacement appeal fund.
There was a public outcry following the theft and a Facebook group 'Find the Altwood Memorial Thieves' gathered more than 1,000 members.
The statue was cut up and sold as scrap metal.
The only suspect charged in connection with the theft was sentenced in May.
Adam Brettell, of Evenlode, was given a one-year probation order after admitting handling stolen goods but the court accepted he did not know the bronze had come from the memorial.
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Police raided addresses in Lillibrooke Crescent, Cox Green, and in Crown Lane, Farnham Royal, at about 7.15am.