Volunteers Angry over Churchyard Theft

By on Thursday, November 3, 2016

sundial-st-marys-churchyard-remembrance-gardenA historic sundial and paving stones have been stolen from St Mary’s Churchyard in Prescot.

Last week, the gnomon (blade) and baseplate of the sundial in the Remembrance Garden was were stolen, along with Yorkshire stone from the adjacent pathway, leading to the vicarage.

The baseplate was centuries old, bearing the name of a past vicar, Augustus Gwynne, and his churchwardens. It cannot be replaced. The gnomon had recently been replaced, having been missing for several years.

The thieves returned a few days later and took more flags.

churchyard-vandalism-st-marys-prescotThen, overnight on Wednesday 2 November, vandals painted graffiti on the side of Prescot Parish Church. The Jacobean building dates to 1610 and is Knowsley’s only Grade I listed building.

Concrete flags on the steps by the War Memorial have also been removed and hacked apart in recent vandalism attacks.

Viv Frodsham, Chair of Friends of Prescot Cemetery & Churchyard, has spearheaded a campaign to find the stolen items, and the group are now offering a £100 reward to anyone whose information leads to the safe return of the baseplate and gnomon.

She described volunteers as “absolutely gutted.”

A fundraising campaign to cover replacement costs for those items which can be replaced has already exceeded its £300 target.

sundial-prescotReverend Amanda Fairclough, who ministers in Warrington but lives in Prescot, wrote on Facebook that “the way we keep our graveyards and places of remembrance speaks volumes of a society’s civilisation.

“The Friends of Prescot Cemetery and Churchyard have done an enormous amount to lift the level of Prescot’s civilisation.

“They must feel so disheartened by these despicable acts of theft and vandalism, but thank you Viv and friends for all you’ve done and continue to do.”

You can support their work and keep up-to-date with progress on their official Facebook page or at their website, prescotcemetery.org.uk.

You can help find the missing sundial baseplate and gnomon by sharing this Facebook post offering a cash reward for information.

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