Daughter left devastated after 'horrible' vandals destroy mum's memorial bench

This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.

A daughter was left devastated and angry after "horrible" vandals destroyed a memorial bench for her mother who had died of cancer.

The stone hand-made bench, in private woods in Milford, was broken into several pieces in a seemingly-random attack over the weekend.

It was built by Mark Emm for his wife Gail to walk to while she was having cancer treatment and served as a memorial after she tragically died two years ago aged 43.

Their daughter Francesca, a university student, was heartbroken when she discovered that it had been smashed to pieces.

The 19-year-old said: "I was so angry. I just wanted everyone to know how horrible these people were. I was just confused. I don't know why you would do it - what is the need to smash something?"

Francesca, mum Gail, dad Mark, 46, and brother Cameron are pictured on the bench before it was destroyed.

Mr Emm carried the heavy stone across the six-acre woods to create the bench so his wife could have a place to rest at her favourite spot, which offers views across Duffield and Milford.

Francesca said the bench was a place where the family, and friends, would walk to so they could talk about Mrs Emm and share memories about her.

She said: "My mum was a very outdoorsy person.

"She absolutely loved that spot. She even wanted to have her ashes scattered there.

"Everyone knew about it and whenever we wanted to talk about her we would go to 'mum's bench'."

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When Francesca discovered what had happened to the bench she posted pictures of the damage to Facebook.

The post was shared hundreds of times and Francesca said she was taken aback by how many people got in touch to offer to donate money to pay for a new bench.

She said: "I wasn't planning on getting donations - we were just going to save up what we could and get something similar to replace it.

"But so many people kept messaging me saying they wanted to help to pay for it, then my brother rang me saying the same, and my dad said people had been messaging him too."

Francesca set up a donation page with a target of £300 but within days the family had received more than three times what they had asked for.

She said: "Now it's at £1,500 - it's a lot more than we were expecting.

"I knew my mum was a well-loved person but this really shows how much she meant to people.

"We're going to find a new bench, maybe one that's a bit nicer than before because we have more money to spend, and I will do a bit of landscaping with mum's favourite flowers.

"I also want to get a plaque so if people do go there they will see it's my family's memorial and they won't vandalise it."

Francesca said the money that's left over will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support, which looked after her mother in her final days.

https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/local-news/daughter-left-devastated-after-horrible-4278046