Eye woman “utterly devastated” after memorial bench for late partner is stolen

Paddy Tanton's drawing of the bench. ANL-160209-152939001

Paddy Tanton's drawing of the bench. ANL-160209-152939001

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An Eye woman has told of her “utter devastation” after a personalised bench in memory of her late partner was stolen from the town’s cemetery.

Dr Paddy Tanton had the bench made in memory of Gilly Wray, who died in 2012. They had been together for 23 years.

Basil and Alice Marples, pictured sitting on the bench. Photo: PAddy Tanton. ANL-160209-153006001

Basil and Alice Marples, pictured sitting on the bench. Photo: PAddy Tanton. ANL-160209-153006001

Made of oak and crafted in Hoxne, the “one-off” piece also features an inscription of Ms Wray’s name in her own handwriting, and had been in place at Eye cemetery for four years.

But in her most recent visit to the bench last week, Dr Tanton was shocked to find it was gone.

“I was utterly devastated”, she said. “And angry. I could not believe that anyone could do that.

“It is to do with the meaning of it.

I would like to confront them to what they have done, and what it means to the victims of it

Paddy Tanton

“I think getting it back is the most important thing. I would like to speak to them (those who stole it). I would like to confront them to what they have done, and what it means to the victims of it.

“I think it is about people understanding what they have done really, and how painful it can be.”

It is thought the bench was taken sometime between August 1 and August 25.

“I got the bench because when you go the cemetery, it is nice to sit and contemplate and think, and it seems like when you lose someone, you need a focal point that has some connection to that person.

Alice Marples at the bench. Photo: Paddy Tanton. ANL-160209-152953001

Alice Marples at the bench. Photo: Paddy Tanton. ANL-160209-152953001

“It is symbolic of something.”

Dr Tanton praised recently-installed Eye Town Clerk Sarah Barrett for her help and informing the town council, and said she has also reported the incident to the police.

Anyone with any information, or who may have witnessed the incident, should contact police on 101, quoting reference number 51847/16