Thieves Steal Memorial Bench After Sisters Scatter Mother's Ashes

PUBLISHED: 19:05 09 September 2008 | UPDATED: 10:32 04 May 2010

Sally Hartwig at the place where the bench should be

Sally Hartwig at the place where the bench should be

TWO sisters who scattered their mother s ashes on what would have been her birthday were devastated to find her memorial bench ripped from the ground last week. Thieves callously ignored a brass plaque dedicated to Little Downham resident Biddy (Bridget

TWO sisters who scattered their mother's ashes on what would have been her birthday were devastated to find her memorial bench ripped from the ground last week.

Thieves callously ignored a brass plaque dedicated to Little Downham resident Biddy (Bridget) Ward, who was a long-standing resident of the village and an active member of the community.

Mrs Ward died in March, and six months later her daughters Rachel, Jane and Sally and their families travelled from their homes in Oxford and Swavesey to scatter her ashes in a private ceremony at the Spinney.

They were given permission by the Feoffees charity, which owns the land, to install the bench, and secured it with a concrete base.

A resident noticed the bench was gone on Wednesday, and police have now been able to narrow down the period in which the bench was taken on either Tuesday after 7am or Wednesday, before 6.30pm.

"I was absolutely speechless," said Rachel. "They would have been in no doubt that the bench was there to commemorate someone who had died recently. Whoever took it has no conscience - they may be able to take the bench, but they can't ever take our memories of that day when we scattered her ashes."

Whoever stole the bench would have needed a trailer to take it away and a lot of muscle power - police say. It is unlikely to have been the work of vandals.

Teak has always been a valuable hardwood - but industry importers say just one cubic metre can make up to £1,250 in the Far East and prices are rising by more than 10 per cent annually. Compared to pine, which is worth less than £1 per cubic metre, and eucalyptus, which is worth around £50, teak is by far the most profitable for resale.

INFO: if you have any information that could help police, contact Cambridgeshire police on 0845 4564564 or Crimestoppers on 0800 5551111

Photo: HELEN DRAKE. 8479HD0908. Sally Hartwig in the place where her mother's memorial bench should be.

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