Vandalism at church

A VICAR is reluctantly being forced to tell families they can not put memorial seats to their loved ones at her Haughley church.The move comes after repeated vandalism attacks.

A VICAR is reluctantly being forced to tell families they can not put memorial seats to their loved ones at her Haughley church.

The move comes after repeated vandalism attacks.

An existing bench in memory of a villager at St Mary's has seen vandals twice try to set it on fire, spray paint it silver, scour it deeply and lever off the memorial plaque.

The vandalism attacks have left the family hugely distressed and they have decided to remove the bench from the graveyard.

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The village is increasingly concerned at vandalism in the community and it is frequently raised at parish council meetings.

The Rev Deirdre Parmenter, vicar of St Mary's and rural dean for the Stowmarket area, said: "It is with great sadness that a family have decided to remove a memorial seat near the Green Road entrance to the churchyard.

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"This lovely seat was out in place by the family only 18 months ago to enable the family and other people using the churchyard to sit quietly when visiting graves.

"The repeated attacks of vandalism on the seat over the last months by a small group of people has caused great distress to the family and has also regretfully led the church council to turn down a subsequent request by another family for a memorial seat in the churchyard.

"We do not think it was anything against the church or the family, just vandalism. The bus shelter has to be locked at night, the pavilion was vandalised some time back, and we used to keep the church porch open but the notices were set on fire.

"This is something the whole village is upset about, people even start to feel a bit vulnerable coming out after dark.''

Nick Clarke, spokesman for the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese which incorporates most of Suffolk, said that places of worship rely on an element of trust when people visit graveyards and they hope churches and church land would be respected.

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