03:00PM, Friday 05 April 2019
A councillor has condemned vandals who destroyed a First World War memorial in Slough town centre last month.
The silhouette of a soldier was put up on a plinth in the High Street in November 2018 as part of the ‘There but not There’ campaign, to remember soldiers killed in the First World War as the 100 year mark was reached.
The metal outline of the soldier, complete with back pack and rifle, was bent and twisted by the vandal who reached up and grabbed the sculpture, leaving it at a right angle to the ground.
The vandalism was caught on CCTV at 3.24am on Thursday, March 21 and the vandal was later seen ripping a tree sapling from the ground in Bath Road and wandering in and out of the gardens of homes in Ledgers Road, Chalvey.
Slough Borough Council (SBC) has released the image of two men who may have information about the incident, which is being treated as criminal damage and has been reported to Thames Valley Police (TVP).
TVP told the Express on Thursday (April 4) that no arrests have been made, and that anybody with information should call 101, quoting reference number 43190086624.
The memorial itself is beyond repairable and the council is now looking at whether to move the other one, at The Curve, William Street, to the town centre location.
SBC deputy leader Sabia Hussain (Lab, Central) said: “It shows how much ignorance is out there. People like that should not be allowed to divide our community. It is sad and disgusting.
“It is a mark of respect. People are right to be angry. If anyone has any information they should get in touch.”
Cllr Hussain also condemned some initial references to race and religion following the incident.
“We need to understand what we share in common. It is not about religion – it is about a criminal act,” she added.
“We are all individual and we need to share our commonality. We should not be ashamed to be from a diverse town – I am proud of it’s diversity. These individuals do not represent me or the people of Slough.”
Tracey Harding, poppy appeal organiser for the Slough District of the Royal British Legion, said: “It is an act of violence and vandalism against something that symbolises all faiths that fought in the war.
“[The silhouette] was to remember all of the fallen, not just a few. It is a silly thing to do."
W A total of £160 has been raised so far on a fundraising page set up by Slough Conservatives to help find the vandals who defaced the memorial.
“We feel passionately that such a crime is truly disgraceful to the memory of all those who died in war, and want these criminals to face justice,” the group said.
“That's why any money raised from this campaign will be used as a reward for anyone who can confirm the identity of those involved. If no one is able to provide the identities, all proceeds will go towards Help for Heroes, a fitting charity for the circumstances.”
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The statue, which was put up on a plinth in the High Street in November 2018 to commemorate 100 years since the First World War, was damaged beyond repair and has not been replaced.