War Memorial Damaged

ROYSTON war memorial was shamelessly damaged over the weekend, in an incident that will sicken residents.

A bronze crow which stood at the feet of the statues of soldiers was ripped from the Melbourn Street landmark, which stands in memory of local soldiers who fell during the first and second World Wars.

The crow was bolted to the monument, and was wrenched out late on Saturday night before being found in bushes on the opposite side of the road by a passer by on Sunday morning.

Alan Veale of Ash Way, Royston, who found the crow on Sunday morning said: “I was out walking at half past eight and saw what I thought was a dead bird in some ivy outside The Thurnalls on Melbourn Street.

“I got a bit closer and realised what it was. Why someone has done this I do not know. It’s vandalism.”

Mr Veale then informed Cllr F John Smith of what he had found. Cllr Smith said: “What people get out of doing such a silly thing and showing such a terrible lack of respect for the people from who died is unbelievable. It’s very very sad.

“The bird was fixed on to the war memorial by bolt, and had been wrenched out of the hole where it was drilled. One of the legs of the crow is slightly bent as when we held the crow in position it didn’t meet up.

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“We have to assume that it happened between pub closing time and 8am on Sunday morning.”

Town officials now face a race against time to get the monument fixed for remembrance Sunday, one of the biggest dates in the local calendar.

Royston Town Major Cllr Martin Beaver said: “I am disgusted and very angry that someone would see fit to desecrate such an important part of Royston and the memory of men who gave their lives for us all. They should be ashamed of themselves.”

“Councillors and the town clerk now have to find someone who works with this sort of metal to try and get it fixed for remembrance Sunday.”

The monument, which is Grade II listed, is considered one of the focal points of the town. Around 20 years ago it was damaged when a head of one of the 2ft high soldiers was broken off.

Anyone with any information on the damage to the memorial should contact Royston Police Station on 01763 249249 or Herts Police on 0845 3300 222.