Memorial wreath replaced after original is vandalised

IN HIS first official act as the island’s new Bailiff, Richard McMahon laid a replacement wreath at the foot of the War Memorial after the original had been destroyed.

On Sunday evening, Guernsey Police alerted the public that the wreath laid by the retiring Bailiff Sir Richard Collas to pay tribute to islanders who lost their lives during the Second World War had been removed and destroyed.

It happened at some point on Sunday.

The wreath was removed from the monument on Smith Street, St Peter Port, taken to Lefebvre Street, St Peter Port, and smashed.

Police said it was not repairable.

Dozens of bunches of flowers have been left at the foot of the memorial by members of the public, including lilies laid by police officers.

There was outrage on social media when news of the vandalism broke.

Islanders were shocked at the disrespectful act and hoped justice would be served.

Guernsey Police said that a 19-year-old male has been arrested in connection with the destruction of the wreath.

Brouards Florist, which made the original wreath, have made a replacement and were keen to liaise with the Bailiff’s office about laying the new one.

At 3.30pm the new Bailiff, Richard McMahon, laid the replacement wreath at the memorial in a small ceremony.

He said that, although it was his first act as Bailiff, he wished it was something he had not had to do.

‘The wreath Sir Richard Collas laid on Saturday should have been left there as a mark of respect for all to see. The idea that somebody would treat the wreath he laid so appallingly is almost beyond belief.’

Talking about the flowers laid by members of the public, Mr McMahon said it was really touching that people felt so strongly that the war memorial should be properly decked with flowers to mark the 75th anniversary of the island’s freedom from occupation.

He compared the memorial being adorned with flowers to the public’s reaction to the death of Princess Diana. ‘It was heart-warming that so many people came to lay flowers.

‘This was an opportunity on behalf of all the people on the island to lay a similar wreath to what was laid on Liberation Day.’

He hoped this one would remain in place, as it should have from the start.

n Anyone with more information about the incident should contact Guernsey Police on 725111 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

n Guernsey Police are also currently investigating the theft of two Guernsey flags from separate properties in Victoria Road, St Peter Port.

They were taken between the morning of 9 May and noon on 10 May 2020. One flag was attached via a pole to the front of a property whilst the other was tied to railings.

Anyone with any information should contact PC 138 Peter Falla on 725111 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

New Bailiff sworn in Page 2

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