A COMMUNITY has been left “devastated” after a memorial plaque which they had erected in memory of one of their neighbours has been vandalised – within less than 24 hours of it being installed. And the wife of the late Basil Bridgett, who the plaque honours, has stated that she feels the offender(s) “must be sick in the head or have a sad life” for the damage they have caused to the plaque which is situated on an old gate post at the top of Meadow Drive in Cheadle. The plaque is inscribed with: “In memory of Basil “Baz” Bridgett, who worked hard to keep those using and living in Meadow Drive safe.”
Residents of Meadow Drive had installed the plaque on Saturday (December 7) afternoon after having a collection following the passing of Basil who died 17 months ago.
Basil had helped in the community’s campaign to stop a move for an access road to be put in place into Meadow Drive from a new nearby development.
Ann and Gil Meyrick, who live in Meadow Drive, say that their community is “devastated” following this act of vandalism.
Ann said: “We put up the plaque in memory of Basil who drove our community’s fight, which was successful, in stopping Meadow Drive being an access road for a nearby housing development.”
Ann said that she went up to see the damaged plaque on Sunday morning after it was discovered by one of her neighbours. She said: “It looks like it has been smashed with a big hammer.
“We are all pretty angry about this.
“Everyone is very upset – we have had a couple of residents crying about it.”
Former fireman Basil had been a father-of-one and a grandfather-of-two.
Basil’s widow, Chris, told the Times & Echo: “What he did was for the community, it wasn’t just for him.
“Ask any of the neighbours – he was always willing to help him.
“Everyone sticks together, we have a good community where everyone looks out for each other.”
Chris said: “My husband had not been a well man, he had bowel cancer but he carried on and helped a lot with the campaign.
“We have good neighbours here. They wanted to give him a bit of a tribute and they did ask my permission about the plaque and I said if that’s what they wanted, then yes.”
Chris visited the site of the memorial plaque after it had been installed. She said: “My neighbours fetched me when it had gone up, and so my sister and I went to have a look at it on Saturday afternoon.
“I was very proud when I saw it. Basil was a good man, he never did any harm and he would help anyone.”
Chris then also visited the same site the following day after neighbours had informed her of the damage. She said: “I feel really heart broken by what has been done to the plaque.
“I just don’t understand it – the plaque would not have done anyone any harm.
“It hadn’t even been up for a day.
“I think it’s such a shame. Whoever has done this must be sick in the head or has got a sad life.
“Why did they do it? My husband never did anyone harm.
“This has brought on a lot of stress for me, I am still grieving for the loss of my husband.”
Thankfully, the plaque is set to be remade and replaced as soon as possible, after a neighbour kindly agreed to stump up the funds to do so.
Ann said: “It is a resident of Meadow Drive who has said they will pay for a new plaque, but that they wish to remain anonymous.
“We also had another neighbour come round to our house to say that they would like to pay for another one.
“After I told them that we have already had a donation, they said that they will pay for another one if it happens again. We will keep on replacing it.
“I think it’s very generous – it just shows the community spirit in Meadow Drive and how much people have been very upset by this.”
Chris added: “It is good that someone has come forward willing to have the plaque made again.”
Staffordshire Police are appealing for witnesses after the incident, which happened overnight on Saturday, December 7 and Sunday, December 8.
A spokesman for the force said: “We were called at 11.15am on Sunday to a report of criminal damage to a memory plaque on Meadow Drive in Cheadle.
“This occurred between 2.30pm on Saturday, December 7 and 7am on Sunday, December 8.
“Enquiries are on-going and anyone with any information can contact 101, quoting incident number 286 of 08 December.”
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