Distraught mum faces hefty price to replace vandalised memorial bench

DISTRAUGHT: Michele Johnson with the letter from the council.

Tragic daughter Jess.

The memorial bench

First published in News
Last updated
Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A GRIEVING mum is facing a hefty bill to replace her late daughter’s memorial bench after it was destroyed by vandals.

Portland couple Michele and Andy Johnson tragically lost their 14-year-old daughter Jess in 2006.

The youngster, who suffered with a heart condition, collapsed at a friend’s house and was dead on arrival at Dorset County Hospital.

In a bid to help the grieving family remember their ‘fantastic’ teenager, Andy’s former work colleagues chipped in for a bench to be installed overlooking Chesil Beach.

Sadly, vandals destroyed the memorial bench last month and it was removed by council workers due to ‘safety reasons’.

Jess’s mum Michele has hit out at the borough council for sending her a bill worth more than £745 in order to replace the bench with a new one.

She claims that not only did the council fail to inform the couple that the bench was going to be removed, but also failed to post the letter to their home address.

Instead, the letter was found on her husband’s desk at work in a hand-written envelope.

The letter, sent by borough council parks supervisor Tara Gooding, said: “It is with regret that I must inform you that the seat donated in memory of Jess Johnson has been rather badly vandalised and has been removed for safety reasons.

“Should you wish to consider donating a new seat in the same location the cost will be £745 plus VAT.”

Michele told the Echo: “I am in absolute shock and disgust that we are being asked to pay for what vandals have done to Jess’s memorial bench.

“The pain of losing my daughter hasn’t gotten any easier and the bench was in a place she used to hang out with her friends. It’s all we had to remember her by.

“We haven’t got that kind of money and even if we did I don’t see why we should foot the bill.”

The 50-year-old, who lives on High Street, added: “I was taking my husband down to show him the damage but the bench had gone and we hadn’t even been told. And then they didn’t even post the letter out properly. It’s disgusting.”

Kate Ryan, director of communities at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said: “We are extremely saddened and disappointed to find that someone has badly vandalised a memorial bench and obviously this has caused undue distress to friends and relatives.

“Sadly the bench is beyond repair and we had no alternative but to remove it for safety reasons.

“Unfortunately vandalism does happen from time to time and the borough council would want to see this bench reinstalled.

“However, as we make people aware when buying a bench the ongoing responsibility for replacing broken or worn out benches rests with the family.

“We would ask that anyone with any information about this incident contacts the police and hope that those responsible would find it in their conscience to come forward and pay for a new bench to make amends for their actions.”

Comments (36)

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7:49am Fri 11 Jul 14

JamesYoung says...

Sadly, i think the Council are right here. The bench presumably didn't exist before this poor girl's family bought it, so it is unfair to expect them to take on the expense of replacing something that they didn't plan to maintain in the first place.
It is also unfair for the family to have to pay, of course.
The solution to this is draconian punishments for those convicted of vandalism. Most vandals seem to escape detection, so add up the total cost of vandalism in the borough and divide it by the number of vandals caught each year. I'm sure the eye watering fines will be enough to deter most of them.
Sadly, i think the Council are right here. The bench presumably didn't exist before this poor girl's family bought it, so it is unfair to expect them to take on the expense of replacing something that they didn't plan to maintain in the first place. It is also unfair for the family to have to pay, of course. The solution to this is draconian punishments for those convicted of vandalism. Most vandals seem to escape detection, so add up the total cost of vandalism in the borough and divide it by the number of vandals caught each year. I'm sure the eye watering fines will be enough to deter most of them. JamesYoung
  • Score: 35

8:05am Fri 11 Jul 14

Fabians says...

Perhaps some local fundraising backed by the Echo might help replace it? There are plenty of decent people who would contribute I am sure. Thoughts for her family.
Perhaps some local fundraising backed by the Echo might help replace it? There are plenty of decent people who would contribute I am sure. Thoughts for her family. Fabians
  • Score: 33

8:16am Fri 11 Jul 14

IslandJim1 says...

Didn't want to be the first to say...but I agree with Mr Young. Whether the bench was damaged by vandals or the sea, it has always been clear that a donated bench is the sole responsibility of the family/organisation that donated it, not the council. How ever it is still up to the council to remove it if it become dangerous. I have expressed before by hatred of memorial bench's and plaques that litter public beauty spots...turning them into open air mausoleums...money would be better spend as a charity donation. Sad as it is, a bench shouldn't be the only thing you had to remember your daughter by. I suggest you accept and move on, let someone else put a bench in for a more recently departed, or are you hedging bets on an Echo bench fundraiser?
Didn't want to be the first to say...but I agree with Mr Young. Whether the bench was damaged by vandals or the sea, it has always been clear that a donated bench is the sole responsibility of the family/organisation that donated it, not the council. How ever it is still up to the council to remove it if it become dangerous. I have expressed before by hatred of memorial bench's and plaques that litter public beauty spots...turning them into open air mausoleums...money would be better spend as a charity donation. Sad as it is, a bench shouldn't be the only thing you had to remember your daughter by. I suggest you accept and move on, let someone else put a bench in for a more recently departed, or are you hedging bets on an Echo bench fundraiser? IslandJim1
  • Score: 0

9:10am Fri 11 Jul 14

Wey-Dave says...

Well I for one pledge a £10 for a new bench
Well I for one pledge a £10 for a new bench Wey-Dave
  • Score: 14

9:13am Fri 11 Jul 14

cosmick says...

The bench should be replaced. Iwonder if the cost would be lower if a private contractor did the job.
I would support a fund to replace the seat.
Each family have a different way of dealing with the loss of family members, if in this case it is the bench we as a society could at least support them.
The bench should be replaced. Iwonder if the cost would be lower if a private contractor did the job. I would support a fund to replace the seat. Each family have a different way of dealing with the loss of family members, if in this case it is the bench we as a society could at least support them. cosmick
  • Score: 17

9:15am Fri 11 Jul 14

kasey1510 says...

I think it's very unfair to assume that this story was taken to the Echo with a plan to get money out of people! Perhaps if the council had handled the matter in a more sensitive manner and approached the family to explain rather than the way they went about it then they would understand and accept it. I think this story was published to make others aware of the heartache caused by the whole situation and not for personal gain. I wonder if you would have the same attitude if this was a memorial to a loved one of yours?!
I think it's very unfair to assume that this story was taken to the Echo with a plan to get money out of people! Perhaps if the council had handled the matter in a more sensitive manner and approached the family to explain rather than the way they went about it then they would understand and accept it. I think this story was published to make others aware of the heartache caused by the whole situation and not for personal gain. I wonder if you would have the same attitude if this was a memorial to a loved one of yours?! kasey1510
  • Score: 17

10:23am Fri 11 Jul 14

PortlandIsAShambles says...

Haha, some community some of you are! The guy who said benches are an eyesore? Are you kidding me?!! Don't be so narrow minded. Portland is a small place, where generations grow up & people know each other quite well, we should all support each other when times are hard, I for one would happily donate because if i was to ever have something like this happen to me, I'd like to think the community would help me out. It's just money, this is someones life we are talking about. Get a donation going, Echo!
Haha, some community some of you are! The guy who said benches are an eyesore? Are you kidding me?!! Don't be so narrow minded. Portland is a small place, where generations grow up & people know each other quite well, we should all support each other when times are hard, I for one would happily donate because if i was to ever have something like this happen to me, I'd like to think the community would help me out. It's just money, this is someones life we are talking about. Get a donation going, Echo! PortlandIsAShambles
  • Score: 15

10:29am Fri 11 Jul 14

Zummerzet Lad says...

Island Jim.
As one who lost a son 20 years ago on your precious island I take it that you have not experienced the loss of a child. If you had you would realise that you don't simply 'move on'!

Memorials appear on the side of a road marking accident spots plus the windmills in Weymouth for the little girl.

To quote a line from Bambi. "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all"

I hope decent people help this family replace their memorial which was put there to share with others, even if they didn't know their daughter.
Island Jim. As one who lost a son 20 years ago on your precious island I take it that you have not experienced the loss of a child. If you had you would realise that you don't simply 'move on'! Memorials appear on the side of a road marking accident spots plus the windmills in Weymouth for the little girl. To quote a line from Bambi. "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all" I hope decent people help this family replace their memorial which was put there to share with others, even if they didn't know their daughter. Zummerzet Lad
  • Score: 25

10:54am Fri 11 Jul 14

elloello1980 says...

^ this is what many from Weymouth are like, shameful and selfish!

Regardless of who should pay, the council have shown no regard for the families feelings by simply removing the bench and informing the family of them doing so by a hefty bill. How they come to the price of £745 is another story, but one I'm sure reflects how bad our council is with money.

I would also like to donate £10 towards a replacement bench
^ this is what many from Weymouth are like, shameful and selfish! Regardless of who should pay, the council have shown no regard for the families feelings by simply removing the bench and informing the family of them doing so by a hefty bill. How they come to the price of £745 is another story, but one I'm sure reflects how bad our council is with money. I would also like to donate £10 towards a replacement bench elloello1980
  • Score: 0

11:10am Fri 11 Jul 14

JamesYoung says...

Yeah, you can put me down for a tenner too.
I think a bench is a great memorial. My comment earlier was around the problem of people essentially committing the council to expenditure they can't afford.
Yeah, you can put me down for a tenner too. I think a bench is a great memorial. My comment earlier was around the problem of people essentially committing the council to expenditure they can't afford. JamesYoung
  • Score: 11

12:00pm Fri 11 Jul 14

Bumpkin says...

I agree with a lot of what has been said above and I feel terribly terribly sorry for the family. As for the vandals, someone knows who they are and should shop them all. Then the courts need to fine them heavily beyond the cost of replacing the bench. Our police force is currently consulting with us all on tactics to prevent crime - one deterrent could be that anything damaged should be paid for in full by the convicted or by their keepers.
I agree with a lot of what has been said above and I feel terribly terribly sorry for the family. As for the vandals, someone knows who they are and should shop them all. Then the courts need to fine them heavily beyond the cost of replacing the bench. Our police force is currently consulting with us all on tactics to prevent crime - one deterrent could be that anything damaged should be paid for in full by the convicted or by their keepers. Bumpkin
  • Score: 17

12:04pm Fri 11 Jul 14

IslandJim1 says...

elloello1980 wrote:
^ this is what many from Weymouth are like, shameful and selfish!

Regardless of who should pay, the council have shown no regard for the families feelings by simply removing the bench and informing the family of them doing so by a hefty bill. How they come to the price of £745 is another story, but one I'm sure reflects how bad our council is with money.

I would also like to donate £10 towards a replacement bench
Seems to me the council actually acted very responsibly, quickly removing something that had the potential to cause injury and would have only attracted further vandalism in the area.

The letter from the council is in no way a bill...a bill by definition you don't have a choice, they can choose whether they want to/have the means to replace the bench. If the letter was posted to Mr Johnson's work, that is presumably the contact address they had. Whats the issue?

If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place!
[quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: ^ this is what many from Weymouth are like, shameful and selfish! Regardless of who should pay, the council have shown no regard for the families feelings by simply removing the bench and informing the family of them doing so by a hefty bill. How they come to the price of £745 is another story, but one I'm sure reflects how bad our council is with money. I would also like to donate £10 towards a replacement bench[/p][/quote]Seems to me the council actually acted very responsibly, quickly removing something that had the potential to cause injury and would have only attracted further vandalism in the area. The letter from the council is in no way a bill...a bill by definition you don't have a choice, they can choose whether they want to/have the means to replace the bench. If the letter was posted to Mr Johnson's work, that is presumably the contact address they had. Whats the issue? If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place! IslandJim1
  • Score: -1

12:17pm Fri 11 Jul 14

kasey1510 says...

I don't think it would have been particularly hard for the council to find out where the home address was so their insensitivity could have been easily avoided. Jess was a friend of mine and I can honestly say that myself and countless others have spent time at that bench remembering her and I know it helped a lot of people through a difficult time just by being there. As the article says this was somewhere Jess spent a lot of time and I for one would like to think that other members of the community would have respect for something that was put in place in memory of someone.
I don't think it would have been particularly hard for the council to find out where the home address was so their insensitivity could have been easily avoided. Jess was a friend of mine and I can honestly say that myself and countless others have spent time at that bench remembering her and I know it helped a lot of people through a difficult time just by being there. As the article says this was somewhere Jess spent a lot of time and I for one would like to think that other members of the community would have respect for something that was put in place in memory of someone. kasey1510
  • Score: 13

12:20pm Fri 11 Jul 14

JamesYoung says...

Bumpkin wrote:
I agree with a lot of what has been said above and I feel terribly terribly sorry for the family. As for the vandals, someone knows who they are and should shop them all. Then the courts need to fine them heavily beyond the cost of replacing the bench. Our police force is currently consulting with us all on tactics to prevent crime - one deterrent could be that anything damaged should be paid for in full by the convicted or by their keepers.
In full and more, to cover the cost of the vandals that don't get caught.
[quote][p][bold]Bumpkin[/bold] wrote: I agree with a lot of what has been said above and I feel terribly terribly sorry for the family. As for the vandals, someone knows who they are and should shop them all. Then the courts need to fine them heavily beyond the cost of replacing the bench. Our police force is currently consulting with us all on tactics to prevent crime - one deterrent could be that anything damaged should be paid for in full by the convicted or by their keepers.[/p][/quote]In full and more, to cover the cost of the vandals that don't get caught. JamesYoung
  • Score: 6

1:26pm Fri 11 Jul 14

elloello1980 says...

IslandJim1 wrote:
elloello1980 wrote:
^ this is what many from Weymouth are like, shameful and selfish!

Regardless of who should pay, the council have shown no regard for the families feelings by simply removing the bench and informing the family of them doing so by a hefty bill. How they come to the price of £745 is another story, but one I'm sure reflects how bad our council is with money.

I would also like to donate £10 towards a replacement bench
Seems to me the council actually acted very responsibly, quickly removing something that had the potential to cause injury and would have only attracted further vandalism in the area.

The letter from the council is in no way a bill...a bill by definition you don't have a choice, they can choose whether they want to/have the means to replace the bench. If the letter was posted to Mr Johnson's work, that is presumably the contact address they had. Whats the issue?

If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place!
"If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place!"

ok...
[quote][p][bold]IslandJim1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: ^ this is what many from Weymouth are like, shameful and selfish! Regardless of who should pay, the council have shown no regard for the families feelings by simply removing the bench and informing the family of them doing so by a hefty bill. How they come to the price of £745 is another story, but one I'm sure reflects how bad our council is with money. I would also like to donate £10 towards a replacement bench[/p][/quote]Seems to me the council actually acted very responsibly, quickly removing something that had the potential to cause injury and would have only attracted further vandalism in the area. The letter from the council is in no way a bill...a bill by definition you don't have a choice, they can choose whether they want to/have the means to replace the bench. If the letter was posted to Mr Johnson's work, that is presumably the contact address they had. Whats the issue? If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place![/p][/quote]"If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place!" ok... elloello1980
  • Score: -9

1:27pm Fri 11 Jul 14

elloello1980 says...

elloello1980 wrote:
IslandJim1 wrote:
elloello1980 wrote:
^ this is what many from Weymouth are like, shameful and selfish!

Regardless of who should pay, the council have shown no regard for the families feelings by simply removing the bench and informing the family of them doing so by a hefty bill. How they come to the price of £745 is another story, but one I'm sure reflects how bad our council is with money.

I would also like to donate £10 towards a replacement bench
Seems to me the council actually acted very responsibly, quickly removing something that had the potential to cause injury and would have only attracted further vandalism in the area.

The letter from the council is in no way a bill...a bill by definition you don't have a choice, they can choose whether they want to/have the means to replace the bench. If the letter was posted to Mr Johnson's work, that is presumably the contact address they had. Whats the issue?

If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place!
"If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place!"

ok...
Your big-bold comment is weak unless you can back it up with your actual name.
[quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]IslandJim1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: ^ this is what many from Weymouth are like, shameful and selfish! Regardless of who should pay, the council have shown no regard for the families feelings by simply removing the bench and informing the family of them doing so by a hefty bill. How they come to the price of £745 is another story, but one I'm sure reflects how bad our council is with money. I would also like to donate £10 towards a replacement bench[/p][/quote]Seems to me the council actually acted very responsibly, quickly removing something that had the potential to cause injury and would have only attracted further vandalism in the area. The letter from the council is in no way a bill...a bill by definition you don't have a choice, they can choose whether they want to/have the means to replace the bench. If the letter was posted to Mr Johnson's work, that is presumably the contact address they had. Whats the issue? If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place![/p][/quote]"If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place!" ok...[/p][/quote]Your big-bold comment is weak unless you can back it up with your actual name. elloello1980
  • Score: -6

1:39pm Fri 11 Jul 14

IslandJim1 says...

elloello1980 wrote:
elloello1980 wrote:
IslandJim1 wrote:
elloello1980 wrote:
^ this is what many from Weymouth are like, shameful and selfish!

Regardless of who should pay, the council have shown no regard for the families feelings by simply removing the bench and informing the family of them doing so by a hefty bill. How they come to the price of £745 is another story, but one I'm sure reflects how bad our council is with money.

I would also like to donate £10 towards a replacement bench
Seems to me the council actually acted very responsibly, quickly removing something that had the potential to cause injury and would have only attracted further vandalism in the area.

The letter from the council is in no way a bill...a bill by definition you don't have a choice, they can choose whether they want to/have the means to replace the bench. If the letter was posted to Mr Johnson's work, that is presumably the contact address they had. Whats the issue?

If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place!
"If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place!"

ok...
Your big-bold comment is weak unless you can back it up with your actual name.
Where as yours is weak with or without a name, what point are you trying to make? If you disagree, please try and string together some words to explain yourself. If not don't try and ruin this thread by trying to cause people to react to your brash and pointless comments.
[quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]IslandJim1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: ^ this is what many from Weymouth are like, shameful and selfish! Regardless of who should pay, the council have shown no regard for the families feelings by simply removing the bench and informing the family of them doing so by a hefty bill. How they come to the price of £745 is another story, but one I'm sure reflects how bad our council is with money. I would also like to donate £10 towards a replacement bench[/p][/quote]Seems to me the council actually acted very responsibly, quickly removing something that had the potential to cause injury and would have only attracted further vandalism in the area. The letter from the council is in no way a bill...a bill by definition you don't have a choice, they can choose whether they want to/have the means to replace the bench. If the letter was posted to Mr Johnson's work, that is presumably the contact address they had. Whats the issue? If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place![/p][/quote]"If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place!" ok...[/p][/quote]Your big-bold comment is weak unless you can back it up with your actual name.[/p][/quote]Where as yours is weak with or without a name, what point are you trying to make? If you disagree, please try and string together some words to explain yourself. If not don't try and ruin this thread by trying to cause people to react to your brash and pointless comments. IslandJim1
  • Score: 10

1:59pm Fri 11 Jul 14

elloello1980 says...

IslandJim1 wrote:
elloello1980 wrote:
elloello1980 wrote:
IslandJim1 wrote:
elloello1980 wrote:
^ this is what many from Weymouth are like, shameful and selfish!

Regardless of who should pay, the council have shown no regard for the families feelings by simply removing the bench and informing the family of them doing so by a hefty bill. How they come to the price of £745 is another story, but one I'm sure reflects how bad our council is with money.

I would also like to donate £10 towards a replacement bench
Seems to me the council actually acted very responsibly, quickly removing something that had the potential to cause injury and would have only attracted further vandalism in the area.

The letter from the council is in no way a bill...a bill by definition you don't have a choice, they can choose whether they want to/have the means to replace the bench. If the letter was posted to Mr Johnson's work, that is presumably the contact address they had. Whats the issue?

If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place!
"If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place!"

ok...
Your big-bold comment is weak unless you can back it up with your actual name.
Where as yours is weak with or without a name, what point are you trying to make? If you disagree, please try and string together some words to explain yourself. If not don't try and ruin this thread by trying to cause people to react to your brash and pointless comments.
says the one who states "a bill by definition you don't have a choice"

weaker than Carling lager my dear ;)
[quote][p][bold]IslandJim1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]IslandJim1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: ^ this is what many from Weymouth are like, shameful and selfish! Regardless of who should pay, the council have shown no regard for the families feelings by simply removing the bench and informing the family of them doing so by a hefty bill. How they come to the price of £745 is another story, but one I'm sure reflects how bad our council is with money. I would also like to donate £10 towards a replacement bench[/p][/quote]Seems to me the council actually acted very responsibly, quickly removing something that had the potential to cause injury and would have only attracted further vandalism in the area. The letter from the council is in no way a bill...a bill by definition you don't have a choice, they can choose whether they want to/have the means to replace the bench. If the letter was posted to Mr Johnson's work, that is presumably the contact address they had. Whats the issue? If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place![/p][/quote]"If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place!" ok...[/p][/quote]Your big-bold comment is weak unless you can back it up with your actual name.[/p][/quote]Where as yours is weak with or without a name, what point are you trying to make? If you disagree, please try and string together some words to explain yourself. If not don't try and ruin this thread by trying to cause people to react to your brash and pointless comments.[/p][/quote]says the one who states "a bill by definition you don't have a choice" weaker than Carling lager my dear ;) elloello1980
  • Score: -12

2:49pm Fri 11 Jul 14

ddynammo says...

From reading these comments it seems as though Portlanders are sound folk. I suspect the people who damaged the bench are well known but unfortunately proof will be elusive. The courts do not fine offenders adequately. Some years ago I had a shop window trashed and had to replace it for £250. I caught the boy doing it but the court fined him £40. What a farce. Back to the bench.... I believe the Council has a long term problem with benches because once they are installed very rarely is money left for their long term upkeep. I've seen a few disappear and be replaced by grass recently because they hadn't been maintained.
From reading these comments it seems as though Portlanders are sound folk. I suspect the people who damaged the bench are well known but unfortunately proof will be elusive. The courts do not fine offenders adequately. Some years ago I had a shop window trashed and had to replace it for £250. I caught the boy doing it but the court fined him £40. What a farce. Back to the bench.... I believe the Council has a long term problem with benches because once they are installed very rarely is money left for their long term upkeep. I've seen a few disappear and be replaced by grass recently because they hadn't been maintained. ddynammo
  • Score: 8

3:14pm Fri 11 Jul 14

1polly says...

Why do the council charge £795 in the first place for a very ordinary bench that would cost no more than £100 at the most , they also charge £36 a year to maintain the bench witch is very hit and miss as they don't all ways maintain them , they are asking £1600 for two benches , stupid amount of money.
Why do the council charge £795 in the first place for a very ordinary bench that would cost no more than £100 at the most , they also charge £36 a year to maintain the bench witch is very hit and miss as they don't all ways maintain them , they are asking £1600 for two benches , stupid amount of money. 1polly
  • Score: 3

4:35pm Fri 11 Jul 14

Rocksalt says...

1polly wrote:
Why do the council charge £795 in the first place for a very ordinary bench that would cost no more than £100 at the most , they also charge £36 a year to maintain the bench witch is very hit and miss as they don't all ways maintain them , they are asking £1600 for two benches , stupid amount of money.
£750 seems steep, but equally there is no way you buy and install a bench similar to the original ( bolted to the ground etc ) for £100.
[quote][p][bold]1polly[/bold] wrote: Why do the council charge £795 in the first place for a very ordinary bench that would cost no more than £100 at the most , they also charge £36 a year to maintain the bench witch is very hit and miss as they don't all ways maintain them , they are asking £1600 for two benches , stupid amount of money.[/p][/quote]£750 seems steep, but equally there is no way you buy and install a bench similar to the original ( bolted to the ground etc ) for £100. Rocksalt
  • Score: 8

4:35pm Fri 11 Jul 14

Rocksalt says...

1polly wrote:
Why do the council charge £795 in the first place for a very ordinary bench that would cost no more than £100 at the most , they also charge £36 a year to maintain the bench witch is very hit and miss as they don't all ways maintain them , they are asking £1600 for two benches , stupid amount of money.
£750 seems steep, but equally there is no way you buy and install a bench similar to the original ( bolted to the ground etc ) for £100.
[quote][p][bold]1polly[/bold] wrote: Why do the council charge £795 in the first place for a very ordinary bench that would cost no more than £100 at the most , they also charge £36 a year to maintain the bench witch is very hit and miss as they don't all ways maintain them , they are asking £1600 for two benches , stupid amount of money.[/p][/quote]£750 seems steep, but equally there is no way you buy and install a bench similar to the original ( bolted to the ground etc ) for £100. Rocksalt
  • Score: 5

4:53pm Fri 11 Jul 14

Hippyhooker says...

PortlandIsAShambles wrote:
Haha, some community some of you are! The guy who said benches are an eyesore? Are you kidding me?!! Don't be so narrow minded. Portland is a small place, where generations grow up & people know each other quite well, we should all support each other when times are hard, I for one would happily donate because if i was to ever have something like this happen to me, I'd like to think the community would help me out. It's just money, this is someones life we are talking about. Get a donation going, Echo!
"Portland is a small place, where generations grow up & people know each other quite well,"....So who vandalised the bench? Probably not as close knit as you think. I feel sorry for this poor family, but they did know the terms when they placed the bench. The obvious answer is to find out who vandalised it so they can pay for a new one, get every person on Portland to make it their mission to find the scum, get every parent to ask their kids if they know anything, a long shot but who knows.
[quote][p][bold]PortlandIsAShambles[/bold] wrote: Haha, some community some of you are! The guy who said benches are an eyesore? Are you kidding me?!! Don't be so narrow minded. Portland is a small place, where generations grow up & people know each other quite well, we should all support each other when times are hard, I for one would happily donate because if i was to ever have something like this happen to me, I'd like to think the community would help me out. It's just money, this is someones life we are talking about. Get a donation going, Echo![/p][/quote]"Portland is a small place, where generations grow up & people know each other quite well,"....So who vandalised the bench? Probably not as close knit as you think. I feel sorry for this poor family, but they did know the terms when they placed the bench. The obvious answer is to find out who vandalised it so they can pay for a new one, get every person on Portland to make it their mission to find the scum, get every parent to ask their kids if they know anything, a long shot but who knows. Hippyhooker
  • Score: 10

5:57pm Fri 11 Jul 14

bigfatlad says...

My sympathies to the family and hope to be putting up a tenner towards a replacement ...
My sympathies to the family and hope to be putting up a tenner towards a replacement ... bigfatlad
  • Score: 1

5:59pm Fri 11 Jul 14

mr commonsense says...

I suggest that for the family there is one important point that is worth considering, namely they put this bench up to remember their daughter. It has been vandalised which is unforgivable therefore in view of the out pouring of public sympathy they should be proud of what they have done and how many of us feel.
Forgive and forget, your daughters memory will live forever, that is the most important thing.
Forget costs, benches are just bits of wood, your daughter was alive.
I suggest that for the family there is one important point that is worth considering, namely they put this bench up to remember their daughter. It has been vandalised which is unforgivable therefore in view of the out pouring of public sympathy they should be proud of what they have done and how many of us feel. Forgive and forget, your daughters memory will live forever, that is the most important thing. Forget costs, benches are just bits of wood, your daughter was alive. mr commonsense
  • Score: -4

6:36pm Fri 11 Jul 14

islandman says...

I haven't read all the comments, but I will add a couple of my own. Firstly the bench would have cost well over £100 (imo) as it would need to be hardwood rather than the cheapies available in most stores.

Secondly, given that the beach huts which cost a considerable amount of money, are vandalised from time to time (as told to me by an owner), I would have thought a webcam covering the huts and the end of the Chesil Cove promenade would have been useful.

As for anyone wishing to site a bench in a place deemed appropriate, given that it is approved of by the Council, I see nothing wrong with that. In fact being oldies ourselves, we have noted that almost every bench has a commemorative plaque these days.

and finally, maybe on such an occasion, wouldn't it be a kind gesture if the Council took it upon themselves, to erect one of those concrete benches such as can be found between Overcombe and Lodmoor Park as a replacement, then follow it up on each subsequent bout of vandalism?.
I haven't read all the comments, but I will add a couple of my own. Firstly the bench would have cost well over £100 (imo) as it would need to be hardwood rather than the cheapies available in most stores. Secondly, given that the beach huts which cost a considerable amount of money, are vandalised from time to time (as told to me by an owner), I would have thought a webcam covering the huts and the end of the Chesil Cove promenade would have been useful. As for anyone wishing to site a bench in a place deemed appropriate, given that it is approved of by the Council, I see nothing wrong with that. In fact being oldies ourselves, we have noted that almost every bench has a commemorative plaque these days. and finally, maybe on such an occasion, wouldn't it be a kind gesture if the Council took it upon themselves, to erect one of those concrete benches such as can be found between Overcombe and Lodmoor Park as a replacement, then follow it up on each subsequent bout of vandalism?. islandman
  • Score: 2

6:41pm Fri 11 Jul 14

La Vigneron says...

JamesYoung wrote:
Sadly, i think the Council are right here. The bench presumably didn't exist before this poor girl's family bought it, so it is unfair to expect them to take on the expense of replacing something that they didn't plan to maintain in the first place.
It is also unfair for the family to have to pay, of course.
The solution to this is draconian punishments for those convicted of vandalism. Most vandals seem to escape detection, so add up the total cost of vandalism in the borough and divide it by the number of vandals caught each year. I'm sure the eye watering fines will be enough to deter most of them.
Perhaps the council are correct in their refusal to take responsibility for replacement however, the pretentious, self important and largely useless bunch failed to even approach decent behaviour in either the method used to inform the parents or apologise -beneath their self important dignity?- to to apologise afterwards.
Councils are reputed to represent the people, it's about time they took this on board and imprinted it in their little minds.
[quote][p][bold]JamesYoung[/bold] wrote: Sadly, i think the Council are right here. The bench presumably didn't exist before this poor girl's family bought it, so it is unfair to expect them to take on the expense of replacing something that they didn't plan to maintain in the first place. It is also unfair for the family to have to pay, of course. The solution to this is draconian punishments for those convicted of vandalism. Most vandals seem to escape detection, so add up the total cost of vandalism in the borough and divide it by the number of vandals caught each year. I'm sure the eye watering fines will be enough to deter most of them.[/p][/quote]Perhaps the council are correct in their refusal to take responsibility for replacement however, the pretentious, self important and largely useless bunch failed to even approach decent behaviour in either the method used to inform the parents or apologise -beneath their self important dignity?- to to apologise afterwards. Councils are reputed to represent the people, it's about time they took this on board and imprinted it in their little minds. La Vigneron
  • Score: 2

6:52pm Fri 11 Jul 14

wurzelbasher says...

I hope all Mrs Johnson gives WPBC is two fingers because that is all they would get from me!
I hope all Mrs Johnson gives WPBC is two fingers because that is all they would get from me! wurzelbasher
  • Score: 1

8:09pm Fri 11 Jul 14

jennytalbot says...

Mindless idiots have caused this family a lot of pain they should look at what they have done and have the balls to come forward as for that comments on get over it well all i can say is i feel sorry for your family as you have no feelings or understanding sham on you the family are greaving for there daughter that is something you never get over i hope a new bench get put I place so they and all her freinds can revisit her i will be donating
Mindless idiots have caused this family a lot of pain they should look at what they have done and have the balls to come forward as for that comments on get over it well all i can say is i feel sorry for your family as you have no feelings or understanding sham on you the family are greaving for there daughter that is something you never get over i hope a new bench get put I place so they and all her freinds can revisit her i will be donating jennytalbot
  • Score: 6

10:22pm Fri 11 Jul 14

are you for real says...

I've just done a google search for quality hardwood street benches and it would appear £750 is a fair price to supply and install one.
I've just done a google search for quality hardwood street benches and it would appear £750 is a fair price to supply and install one. are you for real
  • Score: 7

9:13am Sat 12 Jul 14

westbaywonder says...

are you for real wrote:
I've just done a google search for quality hardwood street benches and it would appear £750 is a fair price to supply and install one.
£750 would just about cover the office partys at christmas, or a few less vans hired for a week at the ivory towers.
Do the decent thing council and replace the bench for the citizen.
Some things in life are more important than money as in this case compassion for a citizen.
[quote][p][bold]are you for real[/bold] wrote: I've just done a google search for quality hardwood street benches and it would appear £750 is a fair price to supply and install one.[/p][/quote]£750 would just about cover the office partys at christmas, or a few less vans hired for a week at the ivory towers. Do the decent thing council and replace the bench for the citizen. Some things in life are more important than money as in this case compassion for a citizen. westbaywonder
  • Score: -1

3:05pm Sun 13 Jul 14

are you for real says...

westbaywonder wrote:
are you for real wrote:
I've just done a google search for quality hardwood street benches and it would appear £750 is a fair price to supply and install one.
£750 would just about cover the office partys at christmas, or a few less vans hired for a week at the ivory towers.
Do the decent thing council and replace the bench for the citizen.
Some things in life are more important than money as in this case compassion for a citizen.
I would object to tax payers money being used to a replace this bench. Also where would the council draw the line, would any damaged benches then be replaced free of charge.
[quote][p][bold]westbaywonder[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]are you for real[/bold] wrote: I've just done a google search for quality hardwood street benches and it would appear £750 is a fair price to supply and install one.[/p][/quote]£750 would just about cover the office partys at christmas, or a few less vans hired for a week at the ivory towers. Do the decent thing council and replace the bench for the citizen. Some things in life are more important than money as in this case compassion for a citizen.[/p][/quote]I would object to tax payers money being used to a replace this bench. Also where would the council draw the line, would any damaged benches then be replaced free of charge. are you for real
  • Score: 6

4:43pm Sun 13 Jul 14

oldbrock says...

IslandJim1 wrote:
Didn't want to be the first to say...but I agree with Mr Young. Whether the bench was damaged by vandals or the sea, it has always been clear that a donated bench is the sole responsibility of the family/organisation that donated it, not the council. How ever it is still up to the council to remove it if it become dangerous. I have expressed before by hatred of memorial bench's and plaques that litter public beauty spots...turning them into open air mausoleums...money would be better spend as a charity donation. Sad as it is, a bench shouldn't be the only thing you had to remember your daughter by. I suggest you accept and move on, let someone else put a bench in for a more recently departed, or are you hedging bets on an Echo bench fundraiser?
at least a bench or plaque is a tangible thing, a donation to a charity is a drop in the ocean and swallowed by expenses, Ceo and other managerial post renumeration We have a heart foundation shop, at the time of my wifes death from heart defect, all were vounteers, now the manager is paid only the "poor bloody infantry" work for NOWT
[quote][p][bold]IslandJim1[/bold] wrote: Didn't want to be the first to say...but I agree with Mr Young. Whether the bench was damaged by vandals or the sea, it has always been clear that a donated bench is the sole responsibility of the family/organisation that donated it, not the council. How ever it is still up to the council to remove it if it become dangerous. I have expressed before by hatred of memorial bench's and plaques that litter public beauty spots...turning them into open air mausoleums...money would be better spend as a charity donation. Sad as it is, a bench shouldn't be the only thing you had to remember your daughter by. I suggest you accept and move on, let someone else put a bench in for a more recently departed, or are you hedging bets on an Echo bench fundraiser?[/p][/quote]at least a bench or plaque is a tangible thing, a donation to a charity is a drop in the ocean and swallowed by expenses, Ceo and other managerial post renumeration We have a heart foundation shop, at the time of my wifes death from heart defect, all were vounteers, now the manager is paid only the "poor bloody infantry" work for NOWT oldbrock
  • Score: -1

4:47pm Sun 13 Jul 14

oldbrock says...

IslandJim1 wrote:
elloello1980 wrote:
^ this is what many from Weymouth are like, shameful and selfish!

Regardless of who should pay, the council have shown no regard for the families feelings by simply removing the bench and informing the family of them doing so by a hefty bill. How they come to the price of £745 is another story, but one I'm sure reflects how bad our council is with money.

I would also like to donate £10 towards a replacement bench
Seems to me the council actually acted very responsibly, quickly removing something that had the potential to cause injury and would have only attracted further vandalism in the area.

The letter from the council is in no way a bill...a bill by definition you don't have a choice, they can choose whether they want to/have the means to replace the bench. If the letter was posted to Mr Johnson's work, that is presumably the contact address they had. Whats the issue?

If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place!
so, now, we take down the war memorials etc just in case some arzul decides to vandalise them? why should someone NOT want to put something in a public place, the bench was where she used to go. Perhaps we have to bow down and surrender to the vile section of society nthat think they can do as they please???
[quote][p][bold]IslandJim1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: ^ this is what many from Weymouth are like, shameful and selfish! Regardless of who should pay, the council have shown no regard for the families feelings by simply removing the bench and informing the family of them doing so by a hefty bill. How they come to the price of £745 is another story, but one I'm sure reflects how bad our council is with money. I would also like to donate £10 towards a replacement bench[/p][/quote]Seems to me the council actually acted very responsibly, quickly removing something that had the potential to cause injury and would have only attracted further vandalism in the area. The letter from the council is in no way a bill...a bill by definition you don't have a choice, they can choose whether they want to/have the means to replace the bench. If the letter was posted to Mr Johnson's work, that is presumably the contact address they had. Whats the issue? If something is that important to you, why put it in a public place![/p][/quote]so, now, we take down the war memorials etc just in case some arzul decides to vandalise them? why should someone NOT want to put something in a public place, the bench was where she used to go. Perhaps we have to bow down and surrender to the vile section of society nthat think they can do as they please??? oldbrock
  • Score: -3

4:56pm Sun 13 Jul 14

oldbrock says...

La Vigneron wrote:
JamesYoung wrote:
Sadly, i think the Council are right here. The bench presumably didn't exist before this poor girl's family bought it, so it is unfair to expect them to take on the expense of replacing something that they didn't plan to maintain in the first place.
It is also unfair for the family to have to pay, of course.
The solution to this is draconian punishments for those convicted of vandalism. Most vandals seem to escape detection, so add up the total cost of vandalism in the borough and divide it by the number of vandals caught each year. I'm sure the eye watering fines will be enough to deter most of them.
Perhaps the council are correct in their refusal to take responsibility for replacement however, the pretentious, self important and largely useless bunch failed to even approach decent behaviour in either the method used to inform the parents or apologise -beneath their self important dignity?- to to apologise afterwards.
Councils are reputed to represent the people, it's about time they took this on board and imprinted it in their little minds.
supposed to represent but in reality make the most of the positions and what they can get out of them, for a start, services have suffered but still councillors get ever increasing expenses, why?
a good percentage of the working population have seen their wage eroded, minimum wage has largely become the norm, councillors expenses keep on rising, why? if that's localism, stuff it!!!
[quote][p][bold]La Vigneron[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JamesYoung[/bold] wrote: Sadly, i think the Council are right here. The bench presumably didn't exist before this poor girl's family bought it, so it is unfair to expect them to take on the expense of replacing something that they didn't plan to maintain in the first place. It is also unfair for the family to have to pay, of course. The solution to this is draconian punishments for those convicted of vandalism. Most vandals seem to escape detection, so add up the total cost of vandalism in the borough and divide it by the number of vandals caught each year. I'm sure the eye watering fines will be enough to deter most of them.[/p][/quote]Perhaps the council are correct in their refusal to take responsibility for replacement however, the pretentious, self important and largely useless bunch failed to even approach decent behaviour in either the method used to inform the parents or apologise -beneath their self important dignity?- to to apologise afterwards. Councils are reputed to represent the people, it's about time they took this on board and imprinted it in their little minds.[/p][/quote]supposed to represent but in reality make the most of the positions and what they can get out of them, for a start, services have suffered but still councillors get ever increasing expenses, why? a good percentage of the working population have seen their wage eroded, minimum wage has largely become the norm, councillors expenses keep on rising, why? if that's localism, stuff it!!! oldbrock
  • Score: -3

9:49am Mon 14 Jul 14

La Vigneron says...

oldbrock wrote:
La Vigneron wrote:
JamesYoung wrote:
Sadly, i think the Council are right here. The bench presumably didn't exist before this poor girl's family bought it, so it is unfair to expect them to take on the expense of replacing something that they didn't plan to maintain in the first place.
It is also unfair for the family to have to pay, of course.
The solution to this is draconian punishments for those convicted of vandalism. Most vandals seem to escape detection, so add up the total cost of vandalism in the borough and divide it by the number of vandals caught each year. I'm sure the eye watering fines will be enough to deter most of them.
Perhaps the council are correct in their refusal to take responsibility for replacement however, the pretentious, self important and largely useless bunch failed to even approach decent behaviour in either the method used to inform the parents or apologise -beneath their self important dignity?- to to apologise afterwards.
Councils are reputed to represent the people, it's about time they took this on board and imprinted it in their little minds.
supposed to represent but in reality make the most of the positions and what they can get out of them, for a start, services have suffered but still councillors get ever increasing expenses, why?
a good percentage of the working population have seen their wage eroded, minimum wage has largely become the norm, councillors expenses keep on rising, why? if that's localism, stuff it!!!
Amazing isn't it. The Government , represented by by a pompous twit called Cameron said, and I quote "we're all in this together" when referring to the economic squeeze, as Mr Badger said, referring to local so called 'Government', national government have taken neither a cut in their pay, duty free 'perks' nor expense accounts. Orwell's 'Animal Farm' summed it up correctly, "All animals are equal but some are more equal than others".
I'll leave it up to you to guess which is which! However, as someone else said "A country gets the government it deserves" You vote for 'em, you get 'em!
[quote][p][bold]oldbrock[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]La Vigneron[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JamesYoung[/bold] wrote: Sadly, i think the Council are right here. The bench presumably didn't exist before this poor girl's family bought it, so it is unfair to expect them to take on the expense of replacing something that they didn't plan to maintain in the first place. It is also unfair for the family to have to pay, of course. The solution to this is draconian punishments for those convicted of vandalism. Most vandals seem to escape detection, so add up the total cost of vandalism in the borough and divide it by the number of vandals caught each year. I'm sure the eye watering fines will be enough to deter most of them.[/p][/quote]Perhaps the council are correct in their refusal to take responsibility for replacement however, the pretentious, self important and largely useless bunch failed to even approach decent behaviour in either the method used to inform the parents or apologise -beneath their self important dignity?- to to apologise afterwards. Councils are reputed to represent the people, it's about time they took this on board and imprinted it in their little minds.[/p][/quote]supposed to represent but in reality make the most of the positions and what they can get out of them, for a start, services have suffered but still councillors get ever increasing expenses, why? a good percentage of the working population have seen their wage eroded, minimum wage has largely become the norm, councillors expenses keep on rising, why? if that's localism, stuff it!!![/p][/quote]Amazing isn't it. The Government , represented by by a pompous twit called Cameron said, and I quote "we're all in this together" when referring to the economic squeeze, as Mr Badger said, referring to local so called 'Government', national government have taken neither a cut in their pay, duty free 'perks' nor expense accounts. Orwell's 'Animal Farm' summed it up correctly, "All animals are equal but some are more equal than others". I'll leave it up to you to guess which is which! However, as someone else said "A country gets the government it deserves" You vote for 'em, you get 'em! La Vigneron
  • Score: -1

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