'Mindless idiots' vandalise Captain Tom Moore memorial with IRA graffiti

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Visitors to nature reserve Thistly Meadow in Hatton, Derbyshire, were disgusted to see graffiti sprayed on the memorial this week. The white spray paint spelt “IRA” on the touching design, which was installed just two days after the former British Army officer died aged 100 on February 2 last year.

Sir Tom made international headlines after raising tens of millions of pounds for the NHS during the first coronavirus lockdown.

Anthony Ball, who is chairman of the Dove Valley Community Project which manages the park, blasted the vandalism.

He said: “What I don’t understand is that you’ve got a small memorial remembering those who lost their lives, and a Tommy [from the Royal British Legion]. Why did they spray Captain Tom? What has he got to do with the IRA?

“I was nearly physically sick when I saw it. Every day I do my walk, I walked around the corner, and I looked at it and was nearly physically sick. I touched it with my hand thinking it was something that would just wipe off, and it was spray paint.

“I could almost understand if someone sprayed a war memorial or a soldier, but not Captain Tom walking down the street.

“I had to get a bin bag and put it over Captain Tom, I couldn’t leave him like that.”

Fortunately, the memorial was repaired within hours, with Austin Cox – owner of an engineering firm in nearby Burton-on-Trent, which also installed the monument – removing the paint for free.

Austin, who also installed the memorial free of charge earlier this year, was described as “such a humble lad” by Anthony, who described the gesture as “amazing”.

Anthony, who is also a councillor on the Hatton Parish Council, said that Captain Tom provided welcome relief for the whole country at a time of need.

The 66-year-old said: “He was unbelievable, wasn’t he? Wonderful. He lifted that many people’s spirits, he was what this country needed, because everyone was on a real low.

“That’s why we put it up. People were so proud of him.”

The graffiti has not yet been reported to the police, given that the monument has been repaired.

But the yobs responsible were branded “mindless idiots” by social media users.

Another comment reads: “Whoever has done this has no respect for their country, for their families who fought and sometimes died in two wars, and for their community. If they can be identified, they should be sent to a war zone for a week’s holiday.”



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