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Parents’ appeal to find vandal who defaced son’s memorial bench

Paul Scholes with his son's memorial bench on Stamford Meadows near Water Furlong. It was recently vandalised, although it has now been cleaned up. EMN-140730-180930009

Paul Scholes with his son's memorial bench on Stamford Meadows near Water Furlong. It was recently vandalised, although it has now been cleaned up. EMN-140730-180930009

Distraught parents have appealed for help finding the vandal who sprayed grafiti on their son’s memorial bench.

Paul and Andrea Scholes put a wooden bench on the Freeman’s Meadow in Stamford in memory of their son Oliver, who died in June 2012 from a rare blood disorder just six days after his brother Toby was born.

Paul, a global product engineer at Cummins Generator Technologies, built the bench himself and carved it with the words ‘Oliver Scholes 2010 - 2012’. It was installed in May last year.

But Paul, 31, was devastated to discover on Sunday last week that the bench had been spray painted with a white tag. It is believed to have happened sometime on Sunday afternoon and was discovered about 8.30pm.

Paul and Andrea now hope people will recognise the tag and identify the vandal to police. The tag has also been seen in the Cattle Market.

Paul said: “We knew from the start there was potentially a risk of something like this happening but hoped people would understand and respect why the bench was there.

“We have been touched by the support of people on Facebook who have shared the photo more than 400 times and share the same sentiment that this is a truly mindless act and one that deeply saddens us. It’s obvious why the bench was put there and it shocks me to know that someone could still go ahead and do this.

“The bench was installed as it is such a lovely place to sit and reflect on life. It brings us joy when we see people sitting on the bench and playing around the area.”

Andrea, a web content administrator at DG Music in Oakham, added: “Hundreds of people have shown us nothing but support since Oliver died, whether they knew him or not. Paul put hours of time and effort into making the perfect memorial for Oliver so it’s heartbreaking that some talentless idiot with a spray can has ruined it in seconds.”

Paul is a Freeman of Stamford and at the age 0f 18 Oliver would have become a Freeman as this right is passed from father to son, which is why the couple thought the Freeman’s Meadow was a fitting location.

On Monday, police officers cleaned the graffiti off and Paul and his brother Neil sanded and restored the bench to its original state. Flowers were also laid over the spot where the bench had been vandalised.

Sector inspector Mike Burnett said he was “horrified and outraged” at the graffiti. He added: “We will pull out all the stops to try to catch whoever did this.”

Since Oliver’s death Paul and Andrea have raised more than £25,000 in their son’s memory for the Histiocytosis Research Fund, which researches the disease Oliver died from.

Witnesses are urged to call police on 101, quoting incident number 561 of July 27.

 

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