An emotional Remembrance Day service has been held at a county school where trees planted in memory of its war dead were damaged by a vandal.
A thug was captured on CCTV in August damaging five of the seven trees planted in the quadrangle at Loughborough Grammar School as a memorial to former pupils who lost their lives in conflict. The school took to social media to appeal for help so police could identify the culprit.
Pupils, staff and visitors gathered on the school Quadrangle today and observed a minute’s silence to remember the fallen. They were addressed by the headmaster, Duncan Byrne, and former pupil, Admiral Sir Trevor Soar.
A school spokesman said; “The service was made all the more pertinent with the rededication of the replanted war memorial cherry trees, which were destroyed in August in an act of vandalism. The memorial has stood since the Great War in remembrance of former pupils and staff who lost their lives in conflict.”
The school was overwhelmed by offers of sympathy and support and a number of nurseries contacted the school to offer replacements. The new trees were donated by James Coles Nurseries of Leicester.
Mr Byrne, who thanked the nursery for its support and generosity, said: “All those connected with Loughborough Grammar School were shocked and upset by the mindless vandalism to our Memorial Quad in August. However, pupils, staff and alumni are extremely grateful for the moral support shown towards the school by both the Loughborough community and well-wishers from near and far. Their solidarity has helped us to appreciate the sacrifice of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in conflicts from the Great War to the recent Iraq campaign.”
Clint Barratt, tree production manager for Thurnby-based James Coles Nurseries, said: “I’ve had trees vandalised myself. It’s quite upsetting when something like that happens. I wanted to help the school out to plant some new trees and say to the guy who did if that we’re not going to be beaten. People don’t understand the graft and work that goes into producing a tree which has probably already growing for six or seven years before they are planted and it’s not something you can repair.”
Text courtesy of Leicester Mercury. Image courtesy of Jake Hilder Photography.