Family devastated after bench laid to remember son is destroyed by car

John Cox at the grave of his son Darren John Cox. Picture:  Malcolm Wells (180202-5089)
John Cox at the grave of his son Darren John Cox. Picture: Malcolm Wells (180202-5089)
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A WIDOWER was left devastated after the memorial bench he bought to remember his late son was hit by a car and destroyed.

John Cox was paying his daily visit to the graves of his wife Agnes and son Darren at Waterlooville Cemetery when he noticed the bench had disappeared last Tuesday.

Picture: Malcolm Wells

Picture: Malcolm Wells

Confused, the 80-year-old contacted Havant Borough Council in a bid to track its whereabouts – only to be told it was cleared up by groundsmen after being hit by a car.

Now Mr Cox, from Cosham, may have to pay nearly £400 to replace it.

He said: ‘Any normal driver in this situation would have reported this straight away, or even left a note – but I have heard absolutely nothing.

‘It’s especially sad because I was planning soon on having my late wife’s name etched on to the bench’s plaque, next to my son’s.

Picture: Malcolm Wells

Picture: Malcolm Wells

‘But now it looks like I may have to buy a new bench entirely.

‘Of course this is not about money, but I am disgusted.’

While he admits the emotional impact of the damage to the bench is great, John said the repercussion’s of the driver’s carelessness could have been more serious.

Mr Cox said: ‘What worries me looking back is the face the driver could’ve easily hit a headstone.

‘This whole saga is very disappointing and I have to admit I don’t have much faith in human nature these days.’

Mr Cox’s daughter, 35-year-old Adela Routledge – also from Cosham – called the incident ‘upsetting’.

She said: ‘That bench has been in our family for more than 20 years.

‘My brother was only 22 when he died in 1992 and installing it was one of the ways my mother and father wanted to celebrate his life, together.

‘What has happened is very upsetting.’

Ms Routledge and her father are now calling for the driver who damaged the memorial to be found.

She said: ‘What is most important is that this person understands what they have done.

‘It wasn’t just any bench – it meant something.

‘Whether it was an accident or whether they were driving too fast in the cemetery, I don’t know.

‘But I know what the seat meant to my dad.’

Mr Cox added: ‘I definitely want to see the culprit brought forward.

‘No one should get away with something like this.’

While they did not provide a comment on the situation, a spokesperson for Havant Borough Council confirmed the memorial bench had been moved by Waterlooville Cemetery groundsmen after it was hit by a car on Monday, January 29.