Tuesday, 04 August 2020

Woman upset at ornaments theft from parents’ graves

A WOMAN was left in tears after the ornaments on her parents’ graves were stolen.

A WOMAN was left in tears after the ornaments on her parents’ graves were stolen.

Sheila Walker was making her regular fortnightly visit to the plot at Fairmile Cemetery in Henley when she discovered the angel and two small cats missing.

Mrs Warner, 64, of Mount View, Henley, is the third victim of a theft of ornaments from the cemetery in the last two months.

She was accompanied by her daughter Caroline Pilcher and eight-year-old grandson Oliver when she went to put fresh flowers on the graves of Lawrence and Bridget Hickman, which are next to each other.

Mrs Warner, who is a cleaner at Townlands Hospital, said: “I was putting the flowers down with my grandson and my daughter said the angel was gone. We looked at the top and the cats were gone.

“The cats were bought by my grandchildren and I got the angel from a garden centre. I was crying because it was so upsetting. I don’t know why someone would take them. These are the mementos of my parents.

“These people have got no respect. It’s bad that they have nothing better to do.”

Mrs Warner had put the 1ft tall angel ornament in front of her mother’s grave as “angel” has a similar spelling to Mrs Hickman’s maiden name, Anger.

“The angel has been there for 18 years and I never thought someone would pinch it,” she said. The cat ornaments were about three inches tall and were chosen by her grandchildren.

Mr and Mrs Hickman were married for 50 years and also lived in Mount View. Mrs Hickman, who was also a cleaner, died in 1996 and her husband, who was a lorry driver for Brakspear, died in 2008.

Mrs Warner’s other daughter Linda Wheeler, who lives in Henley, told her mother she had seen a similar angel ornament at Toad Hall garden centre, off Marlow Road, where she works.

But Mrs Warner said she was reluctant to buy a replacement in case it was stolen too.

She said: “Even if we got the ornaments back I would wonder about putting them back on the grave as I don’t want people to take them off again. I probably would, though, because the grave looks bare without them.” In August a decorative stone cat and pig were taken from two other plots at the cemetery.

A Siamese cat on its back had been placed on Julie Jones’s grave a few weeks after she was laid to rest in 2004 and a pig ornament was on the grave of Jean Oleinik, who died in 2010.

David Potter, owner of the Tudor House antiques shop in Duke Street, later found both ornaments at his shop and they were returned to the families.

Mrs Warner has reported the theft to Henley Town Council, which is responsible for the cemetery.

Town clerk Janet Wheeler said: “I don’t know what sort of people would want to go there and mess about with ornaments.  I would like to have an attendant two or three mornings a week. I don’t know if that would stop this happening but we need to get away from the view that there is nobody up there other than families.”

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