Floral tributes stolen from grave
THIEVES have stolen two floral bouquets from the grave of a war veteran – less than 24 hours after his funeral. Reginald Woodhams, a 92-year resident of Rivermead, Hitchin, and the recipient of four medals while serving his country during World War II, wa
THIEVES have stolen two floral bouquets from the grave of a war veteran - less than 24 hours after his funeral.
Reginald Woodhams, a 92-year resident of Rivermead, Hitchin, and the recipient of four medals while serving his country during World War II, was buried last Wednesday afternoon at Hitchin Cemetery in St John's Road.
In addition to the flowers and messages left at the grave were two bouquets placed there by his great-grandchildren Sophie and Robyn Gorvett, aged five and two.
The following morning the girls' uncle Darren Jackson returned to the site but found that the bouquets had been taken.
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Mr Jackson, 31, a former resident of Hitchin who now lives in London, said: "I couldn't believe it. It's an awful thing to happen at any time, but my granddad had not even been buried for 24 hours.
"I returned the next morning to look at the flowers and to read the cards and the flowers were gone.
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"It's astonishing that somebody had the audacity to do something like this."
His grandfather had lived in the town all of his life, moving to the Rivermead estate when it was originally built. He also helped erect the town's Priory School.
"My granddad was a popular gentleman," Mr Jackson said.
"His memory didn't deserve this.
"There is certainly a need to protect the graves and the cemetery needs proper fencing.
"There is just a hedge at the moment and the gates at the entrance where the vehicles go through are quite low and people would easily be able to jump over it."
Speaking in response to Mr Jackson's concerns about security around the churchyard, a spokesman for North Hertfordshire District Council said: "The Council would like to express its revulsion at the theft of flowers from a graveside and its sympathy with the bereaved.
"The gentleman concerned has spoken to one of our officers who explained the difficulties involved in securing a cemetery at all hours.
"The gates at St John's Road are locked during the hours of darkness and the cemetery is in a residential area near a busy road.