‘I don’t understand why or who’: family’s anger after memorial bench repeatedly vandalised
- Credit: Barry Garnham
A grieving family have spoken of their disgust and anger after vandals damaged a memorial bench to their late son on multiple occasions.
Barry Garnham and his wife Tina had the bench installed on Old Brackenbury Fort in Felixstowe after the death of their son Mark Vice.
Mark was only 43-years-old when he went into anaphylactic shock in hospital where he was due to have surgery last year.
The family spent around £2,000 buying the bench as a memorial to Mark.
"It was his favourite place," said Mr Garnham, "He used to look out to sea."
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The bench was stained to ensure its longevity with a small plaque engraved with Mark's name added to the back.
Mr Garnham also had flower pots tied to the side of the bench as a colourful tribute.
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Despite all the family's work the bench has been damaged several times.
"At Christmas we put a wreath on the bench," said Mr Garnham.
"We went down there later and found someone had ripped it off."
Mr Garnham had a new wreath made and installed, only for it to receive even more damage.
"I had CCTV stickers put on it and even they got taken off," said Mr Garnham.
The family also had small, solar-powered security lights fitted to the side of the bench but they too have been vandalised.
"Someone had gone to the trouble of putting tape on the panels so they would not come on. Someone had actually cut the tape to size," said Mr Garnham.
"I don't get it. I don't understand why or who."
The whole ordeal has had a devastating impact on the family.
"It's extremely upsetting. It's now affecting my wife's health," said Mr Garnham.
"We have just had enough. It's getting expensive but that's not the point. It's the equivalent of his final resting place. If people have a problem then come talk to us."
Suffolk police are investigating the damage to the bench and are appealing for any witnesses to come forward.
A spokesman for Suffolk police said: "This has caused considerable upset and distress to the family and friends of the deceased whose bench it is in memory of.
"Anyone with information is asked to contact Felixstowe police on 101, quoting crime reference 37/56653/19."