A family were left distressed after finding ornaments and vases had been removed from a memorial bench dedicated to a loved one at Scalford Parish Church.
The seat, with special vase holders attached, had been installed at St Egelwin’s to remember Gillian Widdowson, who died nine years ago.
But her daughter, Sharalyn Slaney, was unable to leave flowers on the anniversary of her passing when she arrived at the graveyard to find all the vase holders and vases had been taken away.
Sharalyn and her three children, who were accompanying her on the visit, were also upset to find the memorial ornaments they had left under the bench were also missing.
Sharalyn told the Melton Times: “It was very distressing to find everything had gone.
“My children were distraught, especially the older two who were very close to their nan.
“We couldn’t leave the flowers and returned home upset.
“I contacted the church later and they said it had all been removed because everything was blowing around the churchyard.
“I don’t see how this could have happened because the ornaments are made of concrete and the vase holders were screwed to the bench.”
The family put the bench in because Gillian, who was born and married in the village, was cremated and does not have a grave for them to visit.
They left flowers at the bench on birthdays, anniversaries and at Christmas as well as visiting the plot for Sharalyn’s father, Alec, in Melton’s Thorpe Road cemetery.
Sharalyn, who has daughters Emily (20) and Laura (17) and son Lewis, added: “It’s been very upsetting for my children because they’ve lost both grandparents and they are having to cope with this.
“I’ve lost both parents and yet I can’t even leave flowers for my mum in the churchyard.”
Penny Clemons, who is churchwarden at St Egelwin’s, told the Melton Times: “No-one has stolen the items, they have been put carefully away in the bell tower.
“We collected them up when they were being blown around the churchyard and making a mess.
“We are happy to accept flowers and wreaths in the graveyard but our regulations state that people shouldn’t leave things lying around.”