Anger as Newport hospice memorial vandalised
10:40am Monday 19th May 2014 in News
Jackie Lewis with the vandalised water feature at St David's Hospice in Newport. She donated the scupture after her son Steven, who was looked after by the hospice, died of stomach cancer. (6300791)
VANDALS have caused damage to a memorial water feature at a Newport hospice, which was funded by a mother whose son died of cancer.
The ball-like water fountain was unveiled by Jackie Lewis in the garden at St David’s Hospice Care in Malpas in October last year. It was placed there in memory of her son Steven Lewis, who died of stomach cancer in 2011, aged 31.
But the fountain was damaged in an act of vandalism overnight on Thursday, May 15, after it was broken from its foundation and rolled away.
Police say they are investigating the incident, while the cost of the damage is not yet known.
Ms Lewis, from St Julian’s, has been working tirelessly along with friends and family since her son’s death to raise more than £23,000 for the hospice in two years.
The 64-year-old said: “I was more angry than upset when I found out because so many people have worked so hard to raise the money for it.
“It’s not just me, it’s his family, his friends, and all the people who didn’t even know him who have been fundraising.”
She said that the water feature was a fitting tribute to her son – a lifeguard and competitive swimmer who was operational manager at the Active Living Centre in Newport when he died in December 2011.
Ms Lewis added: “Water was his life, his job. It felt like such a fitting tribute to him.
“For me as a mother, it was the perfect memorial. It is a calming and tranquil thing. The sad thing is there is a lovely bench on its way as well to be placed by the fountain. It’s supposed to be there for the patients and their families to enjoy and find peace, now it’s just ruined because of this. But we will rise above it and will carry on with the fundraising.”
Emma Saysell, chief executive at St David’s Hospice Care, said: “The fact is that something is clearly there in memory for a young man who has died.I’m lost for words. Society must be in a real mess if people can do this.”
Kris Broome, director of fundraising and lottery at the hospice, said: “It’s not often I get angry but it was a shock to the system when I found it first thing in the morning. I’m not sure of the financial impact but there is so much emotional damage involved.”
Police are asking anyone with information to contact them by calling 101 and quoting log number 49 16/05/14.
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