Mansfield dad angry after ‘heartless’ vandals damage memorial bench to deceased parents

A Mansfield dad is slamming heartless vandals who damaged a bench placed in memory of his parents at a favourite beauty spot.

By Dale Spridgeon
Friday, 13th August 2021, 5:19 pm

In 2020, 49-year-old architect Graeme Saxton had a wooden bench installed in a quiet, scenic area of Vicar Water Country Park, to remember his mum and dad, Audrey and Ray.

Audrey died aged 60, in 1993 and Ray, at 84, in 2019. The couple had lived in the Mansfield area for most of the their lives and had enjoyed visits to the popular park, near Clipstone.

The seat cost around £800, and included a plaque with the heartfelt words “In loving memory of Audrey and Ray Saxton of Mansfield, who shared many happy times at Vicar Water.”

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The plaque which has been damaged by vandals at Vicar Water

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However, on Monday, the youngest of Graeme’s two sons discovered that the words on the plaque had been scratched out and the bench damaged.

Graeme said the vandalism was a “double blow” for his son, who had also found his grandfather dead after a suspected heart attack.

"Our family was very upset to discover the memorial bench to my parents had been vandalised,” said Graeme.

The bench at Vicar Water before it was vandalised

"I just thought putting the bench there was a positive thing to do, a nice thing, in their memory, but it also gave something back to the community, a nice spot to sit, but I have learned my lesson. I won’t do anything like that again. I wish I hadn’t bothered for the stress it’s caused.

He added: "Someone took a screwdriver and scraped on the plaque, up and down, dozens of times, it’s ruined. I don’t have patience for the heartless people who create these type of problems. There are these people in society hell bent on causing mayhem and they always get away with it.”

Newark and Sherwood District Councillor Paul Peacock, for Edwinstowe and Clipstone, said: “I very much feel for this family, just trying to do something nice for the community in memory of their relatives, then some mindless idiots have done this.

"It is not an isolated incident. As a council we need to be able to trust that people will be respectful, but there is always going to be a minority who go out of their way to upset people.”

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