A COUNCILLOR is reviving an old tradition to help victims of a cemetery theft.
Grieving families were devastated last week when 168 plaques were ripped off the wall of the memorial garden of St Mary’s Church in Mirfield.
The garden is used to spread the ashes of the deceased by their loved ones and a small metal plaque may be placed on the wall in their memory.
The stolen plaques have been recovered but many are badly damaged – leaving the church with a £20,000 bill to replace and re-install the memorials.
Clr Martyn Bolt has organised a charity walk to help raise funds to restore the garden. The Mirfield Conservative said the town had been shocked by the theft.
“I think some residents are struggling to find words strong enough to condemn the desecration,” he said.
Clr Bolt explained that the thieves had damaged the plaques before trying to pass them off as scrap metal.
“It’s not just a case that we’ve got the plaques back and they can be reinstalled,’’ he said.
“They used acid and tried to grind away the names etched on the plaques so as they wouldn’t be identifiable as memorials.”
Clr Bolt has organised a 12-mile walk around Mirfield next Saturday, October 15, to raise funds for the church.
The event is called Beat the Bounders – a reference to the tradition of walking along the parish borders known as beating the bounds.
Clr Bolt said: “Beating the Bounders is a twist on the tradition – it was the strongest term I could use to describe the people who did this despicable act.”
The walk takes in the boundary of the old Mirfield Urban District Council. It starts at the Old Colonial Inn, goes along the edge of Crossley, towards Heckmondwike, near The Star at Roberttown, down the back of Holly Bank, behind The Three Nuns pub and back along Huddersfield Road.
Walkers are asked to register and begin the walk between 9.30am and 10.30am
Two men aged 26 and 37 have been arrested in connection with the theft which took place on the night of September 23.