Gloucestershire

Prestbury's damaged stone war memorial rededicated

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Media captionThe restored war memorial was rededicated by the Bishop of Tewkesbury

A war memorial which has been restored after vandals smashed the original to pieces has been unveiled.

The stone memorial in Gloucestershire was knocked over last year and a large chunk stolen before later being dumped beside a road in Cheltenham.

The Bishop of Tewkesbury conducted the rededication service at 15:00 BST in the village of Prestbury.

Meister Masonry, a local stonemasons, donated time and materials to build the newly carved memorial.

Margaret Roberts, from Prestbury Parish Council, said: "It will be lovely to finally have the memorial back and looking like nothing has happened."

The original was so badly damaged in the attack last October that a new memorial had to be ordered.

'Positive action'

A spokesperson for the War Memorials Trust said the organisation deplored any damage to memorials but acknowledged it did happen fairly often: "On average we get one report a week of graffiti, vandalism or theft."

Image caption More than 200 people gathered for the unveiling

Gloucestershire Police said its investigation was ongoing.

As well as the bishop, the rededication service will be attended by several ex servicemen and servicewomen, representatives of the civic authorities and the Royal British Legion and other public organisations.

Afghanistan war veteran Lieutenant William Dixon, from Cheltenham, said the restoration plan had shown Prestbury in a great light.

"The anger shown by locals which has been channelled into so much positive action by a spectrum of the community of all ages and backgrounds, indicates the overwhelming support for the forces and brings it all back to the front of people's minds."

"I'm confident that those who committed this act of criminal damage behaved without thinking, since many of them will probably know of family members, loved ones or friends who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces.

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