Captain Tom memorial sprayed with vile graffiti leaving onlookers ‘physically sick’


Captain Sir Tom Moore’s ife-sized black silhouette sculpture, which stands in the village of Thistley Meadow in Old Marston Lane in Hatton, was found to have “IRA” sprayed on it with white pain

Sir Tom Moore's memorial was vandalised
Sir Tom Moore’s memorial was vandalised by unknown yobs

A memorial to Captain Sir Tom Moore has been vandalised leaving one onlooker feeling “physically sick”.

The sculpture is part of the village’s only war memorial and was installed just two days after Captain Tom died aged 100 on February 2 after he raised millions of pounds for the NHS.

The war veteran’s life-sized black silhouette sculpture, which stands in the village of Thistley Meadow in Old Marston Lane in Hatton, was found to have “IRA” sprayed on it with white paint on the morning of Wednesday, December 29.

Anthony Ball, who is chairman of the Dove Valley Community Project which manages the park, said he discovered the damage and was disgusted by the vandalism.

He told Derbyshire Live : “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.

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The damaged memorial
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Image:

Anthony Ball)

The memorial has been cleaned and restored
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Image:

Lewis Anderson, AGC Fabrications)

“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 a Burton-on-Trent based engineering firm, which also installed the monument – removing the paint for free.

Captain Tom, who served in the Army in the Second World War, shot to fame in 2020 after raising over £30m by walking 100 laps of his care home in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire.

Since his death, he has inspired dozens of similar fundraising efforts from people of all ages and has been memorialised in countless tributes across the country.

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 nature reserve in Derbyshire
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Image:

Anthony Ball / BPM Media)

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.”

Anthony, who has lived in Hatton for over 60 years, said the graffiti has not yet been reported to the police, given that the monument has been repaired.

He said the meadow, which he walks around every day, was a “godsend” for residents in the village during lockdown, with many enjoying a swim in the River Dove, which flows through the area.

It is maintained by a small group of volunteers all year round, who keep it looking at its best for residents to enjoy.

Mr Cox, whose company installed the sculpture, had a strong message for those who were considering repeating the act.

He said: “If you continue to paint him, we will clean it off. If you damage him, we have the resources to repair him. If you remove him, we will have a new one put in his place.

“By continuing your actions you are greatly increasing our chances of catching you.

“Sir Tom is now all cleaned up and continuing to lift the spirits of all those that need him during these times.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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