‘Outrageous’ theft at Eastbourne church war memorial
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The war memorial at St Saviour’s Church was vandalised when its lead was stolen on the night of September 15.
The memorial - depicting Christ - was designed by Eastbourne architect Colin Hay Murray, and unveiled in 1920 in memory of 57 local men who gave their lives in the Great War.
This is not the first time the memorial has been targeted either - there was an attempt earlier in the year to remove the lead but vandals were unsuccessful.
Father Mark McAuley, vicar of St Saviour’s, said, “One of the distinguishing hallmarks of a civilised society is that we honour and remember those who gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy. That is why this was no ordinary theft, and in the context of the pressures of the pandemic it was a particularly bitter blow.
“There was a resurrection moment, however, when Paul Strudwick and the directors of Clarke Roofing, and Frank Gammon, the lead specialist of the Galenite from Bexhill, offered to reinstate the memorial at no cost to the church.”
Clarke Roofing, based in Hammonds Drive, said it has a long association with the church and heard about the theft through Father McAuley.
Company spokesperson Paul Stredwick said, “Unfortunately this time the vandals succeeded in stealing all the lead from the memorial and when we were contacted by Father McAuley, we felt we needed to help the church in any way we could.
“We feel that although all theft is appalling, the act of vandalism carried out on a war memorial dedicated to service men and woman who have lost their lives in protecting this country is outrageous. We therefore made the decision to restore the war memorial on behalf of St Saviour’s Church, as a gesture of goodwill.”
Father McAuley said, “What a wonderfully generous and gracious act and what a counterpoint to the selfish wickedness of those who had desecrated the memorial.”