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Memorial bench on Rochester Esplanade damaged by disposable BBQs

A devastated daughter has slammed yobs who damaged her late dad's £1,200 memorial bench.

On Wednesday, Helen Clarke was coming to terms with having to put her beloved pet schnauzer down.

The damaged bench
The damaged bench

She then started to get messages on social media showing the bench with scorch marks on it.

The special table had been placed at Rochester Esplanade in February in memory of former engineer Phillip Jenner.

The 75-year-old, who worked on oil rigs up until age 50, died of lung cancer in June last year.

Helen, of Witham Way, Strood, was told two disposable BBQs had been used on the bench – melting the surface.

She said: "We'd just had Henry put down after 14 years and I saw that and thought 'where's the respect?'"

The 50-year-old says the bench was special to all the family and sits close to where her dad lived with mum Sheila, 73.

The late Phillip Jenner
The late Phillip Jenner

She added: "How do you stop mindless vandals? I don't know. Maybe it wasn't deliberate but they should have thought."

The mum-of-two thinks the damage happened when a group of young men were playing football the previous Friday.

"I was absolutely fuming at the time, I have calmed down a bit since," she said. "But people should think of their actions.

"If you go to a place like that, you should be able to enjoy the space. It just shows a lack of respect, which is common these days."

Determined something good should come from the incident, she plans to contact Medway Council.

"I was thinking they could somehow display the damaged surface somewhere to show people what can happen," she added.

Helen (right) with mum Sheila and sister Clare
Helen (right) with mum Sheila and sister Clare
Helen's son Jack sitting at his late grandad's bench
Helen's son Jack sitting at his late grandad's bench

"I think it's important that people see what these BBQs can do if put on the wrong surface – maybe that would help."

Phillip was a volunteer at the Gillingham-based Medway Queen historic vessel.

It was while working there that a fall led medics diagnosing his incurable cancer.

Helen added: "He was a really strong man, but it was too late by then. He'd have had something to say about the bench damage.

"But if there's something positive to come out of this, it's all the lovely messages we have had from people on Facebook."

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