Halesowen communal bench damaged by school children

Credit: Facebook/Halesowen BID

A communal bench in Halesowen Town Centre which is dedicated to the memory of a Halesowen College lecturer, has been left damaged after a group of school children tried to set it on fire.

The 'Friendly Bench' which was opened by the Mayor of Dudley, Councillor Anne Millward last year was left with scorch marks on its surface and rubbish strewn throughout the flowers planted around the seating area yesterday afternoon.

The bench was dedicated to Caroline Wiliams, an employee of Halesowen College who passed away in 2020 after a battle with cancer. Town centre manager, Vicky Rogers said:

"Halesowen BID and Halesowen In Bloom work hard to improve our town and our efforts are ruined by individuals who have no civic pride or remorse for their actions. "This is not only criminal damage but is disrespectful to the person that the bench is a memorial too and their family.

"We will not tolerate this behaviour and will seek to make sure those responsible are dealt with accordingly. They can rest assured that we have CCTV images and will be liaising with both the police and their school."

The bench, which is the first to be installed in a UK town centre, forms part of a UK-wide scheme run by The Friendly Bench CIC which aims to tackle loneliness and social isolation. It also feature sensory planting and is maintained by a small team in conjunction with Halesowen BID.


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