Published: 14:02, 27 October 2020
| Updated: 12:19, 28 October 2020
A Royal British Legion group is racing to fix its bench situated next to a war memorial following a second act of vandalism in just over a year.
Members of the Downs branch, based in Deal , were horrified to learn that the resting spot it has provided for people at Hamilton Road cemetery has been subjected to damage.
Last September, an adjacent bench, dedicated to veterans, appeared to have been "kicked in" and now a gold plaque on its sister bench has been mostly torn off.
Vice chairman Malcolm Gibbons, who has reported the incident to site owners Dover District Council, says its shows "no respect for what it means and for anybody that wants to sit there and remember."
In a formal statement, the branch said: "How sad to have to write this.
"One of the Royal British Legion benches situated in Hamilton Road cemetery has once again been vandalised.
"The bench was provided for the use of anyone wishing to sit, reflect or remember a loved one; maybe a service man or woman that had died whilst protecting our freedom that we enjoy today.
"Branch committee members had recently carried out repairs to the wooden structures of the benches which stand next to the war memorial in the cemetery.
"Our grateful thanks goes to hard working business owner, Donna Maxted from Maxted's Pet and Garden shop, Deal High Street, who has stepped forward to pay for the restoration of this valuable asset. "
Mrs Maxted has ordered the new gold plaque and the committee is hoping it will arrive and be installed in time for Armistice Day when a short act of remembrance is due to take place.
A Dover District Council spokesman said: "We do understand how distressing this must be.
"We will liaise with the police on this matter and continue to work closely with all our partners in the community to keep the district a safe place.
"In such cases, we would also encourage people to report such incidents of vandalism to the police."
Many Remembrance services around the country will continue to held this year but with limited numbers and bans on marching and singing - and Deal is no exception.
The usual Remembrance Sunday service at Victoria Memorial Hospital will go ahead at 11am.
But letters have been sent out to all the organisations, associations and clubs making them aware of the RBL's arrangements and to government restrictions surrounding a maximum of six persons in a bubble.
Mr Gibbons said: "This was not an open invitation, like we would normally send out.
"The Downs Branch RBL will have a party of six persons only and there will no bands, singing, or parade.
"Any organisation, association, club, societies or public attending both venues must attend of their own choice and would be most welcome, however we must stress that they conform to the current rules and ask that they maintain a safe distance at all times."
Neighbouring Sandwich is asking its local community to 'Remember at Home' by observing two minutes silence at 11am.
The Mayor of Sandwich, Cllr Paul Graeme, the Rev Canon Mark Roberts and Simon Leith of the Royal British Legion will lay a wreath at the town's memorial in Market Street.