Family's relief as memorial bench to stay put

Dorset Echo: TAKE A SEAT: Debby Jolliffe at her son’s memorial bench TAKE A SEAT: Debby Jolliffe at her son’s memorial bench

A GRIEVING mother has told of her relief that her son’s memorial bench is no longer being moved for the Olympics.

A furore erupted when English Heritage, which is responsible for the beach by Portland Castle, contacted the family of the late David Hallett to discuss moving his commemoration bench.

David’s mother Debby Jolliffe felt ‘kicked in the stomach’ to hear the memorial bench at Black Barge on the edge of Portland Harbour was to make way for a marquee put up by the Danish Sailing Association during the Games.

But when the Dorset Echo contacted English Heritage, a spokesman said it was ‘no longer the case’.

The spokesman pledged the bench would remain in place and the family granted access, but revealed that temporary Olympic restrictions would close the area to the public.

Mrs Jolliffe, aged 42, of Underhill, said while the popular area should not be closed to bathers and boat owners during the Olympics, she was relieved her son’s memorial would remain untouched.

She said: “I feel relieved they actually realised it’s more than just a bench, it’s people’s emotions.

“It’s not exactly a victory but it sits better.

“I was told the memorial bench was going to be moved for the duration of the Olympics to make way for a marquee at the beach and that when it came back it wasn’t to be bolted down.

“It was like a kick in the stomach, we don’t have a gravestone, this is where David’s ashes were scattered and where his family and friends come to visit him.

“We chose to put the bench here because if I ever lost him, this is where he went.

“It’s a nice place for anybody to sit.”

Mrs Jolliffe said her ex-husband Roy Hallett had made arrangements to remove the bench today, before the U-turn decision was made.

David’s granddad Peter Ebdon feels ‘very sad and disgusted’ by all the upset and likened it to the threat of ‘removing a person’s grave’.

The English Heritage spokes-man said: “We were advised by the police to restrict access to the beach during the Olympics and that it be closed completely to swimmers and boats – there are restrictions on all the beaches in the Olympic area.

“Allowing a specific group to hire the beach was left as an option and so we were delighted that the Danish Sailing Association chose to use the beach as a base for their athletes and media.

“We could not afford to turn away such opportunities and the income we gain from letting the beach will go towards the upkeep of the castle.”

He added: “When the possibility arose that the bench might need to be temporarily removed, we alerted the father of the family to the situation and he agreed to it.

“This is, however, no longer the case, it will not be removed and the family can visit it throughout the Olympics.

“There are two other benches on the beach area of the castle – none of which will be removed.”

Loving memory

MECHANIC and pizza delivery boy David died on Portland at the age of 16.

He was fatally injured on December 27, 2008, when he swerved his moped to avoid injuring a pedestrian and went under an oncoming car.

His memorial bench is inscribed with the words:

‘In loving memory of David ‘Minty’ Hallett.

31/05/92 to 27/12/08

Your smile was wide

Your laugh was loud

With us in spirit

You made us so proud

Love always sweetheart’

Comments (8)

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11:41am Sat 7 Jul 12

IDONTKNOWIFITISTRRUE says...

Happy that the families bench can stay but 'Allowing a specific group to hire the beach was left as an option and so we were delighted that the Danish Sailing Association chose to use the beach as a base for their athletes and media' sounds a bit like selling off the family silver by English Heritage and the council. Like the Nothe which has been 'sold off' to LOCOG without any real benefit to Weymouth taxpayers.
Happy that the families bench can stay but 'Allowing a specific group to hire the beach was left as an option and so we were delighted that the Danish Sailing Association chose to use the beach as a base for their athletes and media' sounds a bit like selling off the family silver by English Heritage and the council. Like the Nothe which has been 'sold off' to LOCOG without any real benefit to Weymouth taxpayers. IDONTKNOWIFITISTRRUE
  • Score: 0

11:48am Sat 7 Jul 12

whatever66 says...

utterly disgusting im glad your bench can stay......they im praying for severe weather while the olympics are on, that will leave the nothe empty and all the other places where they are gonna con the locals out of money for using our own facilities.
utterly disgusting im glad your bench can stay......they im praying for severe weather while the olympics are on, that will leave the nothe empty and all the other places where they are gonna con the locals out of money for using our own facilities. whatever66
  • Score: 0

12:41pm Sat 7 Jul 12

Crabber says...

How can something that is a public place and with public rights of way be hired out. I also believe that due to some ancient laws the Admiralty Receiver of Wrecks owns some of the shore all around the country som ehe/she might not have been to pleased. Like 'whatever66' above I to am praying for bad weather like gaels of wind and atrocious conditions o no racing and no spectators, or equally flat calm loads of sun plenty of spectators and nowt to watch . I think we the people of Portland would have ensured that 'Mintys ' Bench would have stayed put
How can something that is a public place and with public rights of way be hired out. I also believe that due to some ancient laws the Admiralty Receiver of Wrecks owns some of the shore all around the country som ehe/she might not have been to pleased. Like 'whatever66' above I to am praying for bad weather like gaels of wind and atrocious conditions o no racing and no spectators, or equally flat calm loads of sun plenty of spectators and nowt to watch . I think we the people of Portland would have ensured that 'Mintys ' Bench would have stayed put Crabber
  • Score: 0

3:21pm Sat 7 Jul 12

portland rebel says...

this beach area is very popular with the local kids and we are to loose this for the whole of the summer holidays, this is another case of stuff the locals.
this beach area is very popular with the local kids and we are to loose this for the whole of the summer holidays, this is another case of stuff the locals. portland rebel
  • Score: 0

4:15pm Sat 7 Jul 12

Wey_Mum says...

Great news for the family, no ones memorial bench should ever be moved once placed, and such a shame for the local families that this little beach will be closed, the shells on the bench were put there thursday by my children who spent an enjoyable evening after school collecting their treasures for someone else to find.
Great news for the family, no ones memorial bench should ever be moved once placed, and such a shame for the local families that this little beach will be closed, the shells on the bench were put there thursday by my children who spent an enjoyable evening after school collecting their treasures for someone else to find. Wey_Mum
  • Score: 0

5:39pm Sat 7 Jul 12

oldbrock says...

commonsense prevails
the sooner this farce is over the better, all the disruption by the dictator locog is just rubbing everybody up the wrong way and just for a select few, disgusting, show just how little "freedom" we have
commonsense prevails the sooner this farce is over the better, all the disruption by the dictator locog is just rubbing everybody up the wrong way and just for a select few, disgusting, show just how little "freedom" we have oldbrock
  • Score: 0

12:35pm Sun 8 Jul 12

kwhat says...

What's the saying;'One rule for one (not right)..
What's the saying;'One rule for one (not right).. kwhat
  • Score: 0

1:33pm Mon 9 Jul 12

R950 says...

“temporary Olympic restrictions would close the area to the public”.
What a load of rubbish, simply an excuse by English Heritage to “cash in” on ground which it is doubtful if they really own it. Sadly too late now for us mere mortals to argue.
“temporary Olympic restrictions would close the area to the public”. What a load of rubbish, simply an excuse by English Heritage to “cash in” on ground which it is doubtful if they really own it. Sadly too late now for us mere mortals to argue. R950
  • Score: 0

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