A WOMAN has spoken of her shock after discovering a memorial bench for her late parents had been stolen from its prime location beside the River Wear.

The seat was installed near the bandstand, in Durham City, in memory of Lily Wilson, using £800 donated by loved ones at the 93-year-old’s funeral in 2017.

It bore a plaque with her name and husband of 71-years, Bill’s, as the couple loved to wander by the river once they retired to Durham after many years farming in the county, including at Fir Tree, Heighington and Willington.

Mr Wilson died in March and when their daughter, Jan Robson, walked along the riverside to remember her parents and visit the bench she found it was gone.

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“I couldn’t quiet believe it was gone, but at first I thought maybe it had been removed because I had reported to the council that it had been lose the previous time I visited,” she said.

Mrs Robson contacted Durham County Council and was told it had not been removed for repairs so must have been stolen, along with another in the area.

She said: “That was upsetting.

"The seat meant a lot to us, to dad especially and my cousins who'd pop by and think of my parents.

“When we first contacted the council about a memorial seat I was a bit disappointed that the only style available was a plain metal one, because they often get vandalised.

“Who would want to steal simple benches, and what do they do with them?

“Have they been ripped up and thrown in the river or actually stolen and taken away? It is such a thoughtless thing to do.”

Mrs Robson is now discussing its possible replacement with the authority.

Jeff Talbot, Durham County Council’s Clean and Green manager, said: “We are aware of the disappearance of this bench and another in the same area, and we would like to express our deepest sympathies for Mrs Robson and understand the upset she will be feeling.

“We are speaking with Mrs Robson regarding the upkeep and replacement of the memorial bench, and we are looking into ways that we can provide her with further assistance.”


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