Dad's vow over bench in memory of son

A GRIEVING dad has revisited a restored memorial bench, dedicated to his teenage son, which was vandalised by yobs.

A GRIEVING dad has revisited a restored memorial bench, dedicated to his teenage son, which was vandalised by yobs.

John Page said he had mixed feelings when he saw the bench, having forked out �100 of his own money to get it fixed.

The commemorative bench was donated by school friends of John's 18-year-old son Lee, who drowned when the dinghy he was in capsized at Alton Water in September 2005. Nick Lloyd, 22, who lived with Lee and worked with him at the Red Lion in Martlesham, also died in the accident.

The pair had been enjoying a barbecue near to the reservoir's picnic site and had taken out a boat with another friend Max Pryke, when the dinghy capsized. Mr Pryke managed to swim to safety but he could not rescue his two friends.

The bench was put up at the reservoir, near to where the two men took out the boat in the early hours of the morning.

Mr Page of Landseer Road, Ipswich was shocked to discover that vandals had wrecked the memorial to his son when he visited Alton Water in April this year.

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The 53-year-old said: “I was gutted. When I got there I saw that the back of the bench had been smashed and one of the legs had been snapped. I think it's disgusting that vandals could do that to something his friends raised �400 for.”

Mr Page who has a 20-year-old daughter, Stacey, said the memory of his son's death was made all the more painful by the vandalism and admitted he now feels he has a duty to protect the bench from further damage. “I'm not in a position to keep paying for the bench to be repaired,” he said, “but I will be visiting more often to keep an eye on it.”