Vandalised war memorial replaced


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The Independent Online

A new war memorial to replace one which was smashed by vandals is being unveiled today.

The motiveless attack triggered widespread anger in the picturesque village of Prestbury, Gloucestershire, when it happened last October.

The large upright memorial was pushed over and a chunk taken from the scene and later found dumped by the roadside in nearby Cheltenham.

But anger at the destruction prompted a positive response in the community and a replica of the original memorial will be unveiled today.

The Bishop of Tewkesbury will conduct a rededication service in the village, which is near the edge of the Cotswolds.

A number of ex-servicemen and women will attend the service as well as civic authority representatives, the Royal British Legion and other public organisations.

The re-siting of the newly carved memorial has been made possible by a local stonemason who donated time and materials.

A police investigation into the vandal attack is ongoing.

But attacks on war memorials are far from being isolated incidents.

"On average we get one report a week of graffiti, vandalism or theft," a War Memorials Trust spokesman told the BBC online.

Lieutenant William Dixon, a local Afghanistan war veteran, said the restoration reflected the community spirit in Prestbury.

"The anger shown by locals which has been channelled into so much positive action by a spectrum of the community of all ages and backgrounds indicates the overwhelming support for the forces and brings it all back to the front of people's minds," he told the BBC.

"I'm confident that those who committed this act of criminal damage behaved without thinking, since many of them will probably know of family members, loved ones or friends who have served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces."