Widow’s pain as vandals rip out memorial bench to tragic Sway dad

A memorial bench dedicated to a family man who died of cancer was vandalised in Sway in Hampshire over the weekend

Katherine Sirl, a school exams manager, had the bench installed as a memorial to her late husband, Chris, who lost his battle with cancer in 2014.

Chris, 45, was diagnosed with stomach, pancreatic and liver cancer after months of feeling ill.Despite fighting the disease and making the most of the time he had left, Chris died on the 22nd December 2014.

Speaking from her Sway home, his widow said yesterday that he had wanted somewhere other than a grave for his family to visit and remember him. In honouring that wish, her husband’s memorial bench was installed at Jubilee Fields in Sway.

However, Mrs Sirl was devastated to find that at some point over the weekend, mindless vandals wrenched the beloved memorial out of its concrete anchoring, broke off one of the legs and dragged it across the grass.

Mrs Sirl said, “This is vandalism and criminal damage to a nearly brand new memorial to a village community member, husband and father whose life was cut short in his prime, yet we are now giving the message that it’s ok to do whatever damage you like because there are no consequences. I am ashamed of society today and disgusted that this behaviour is passively condoned. It’s shocking to think that someone could deface a memorial bench. They are just so heartless.”

Mrs Sirl added, “There are four houses which look directly onto the bench. If this could have been your kids, then you, as parents, have a duty to make them accountable. If it was someone trying to steal it for themselves, go and earn the money to buy your own and then replace the one you’ve ruined with it. The damage has been reported to the police.”

Anyone with information should phone Hampshire Constabulary on 101.