THIEVES have left Adam O’Toole’s loved ones devastated after targeting a treasured memorial.
A skimmia plant installed next to a special bench at Lockwood Park rugby ground after his hit-and-run death in 2007 has been snatched.
The incident comes just days before the venue, home of Adam’s beloved Huddersfield RUFC, was due to host a match in his honour.
Adam’s mother, Beverley, is now begging the thieves to return it before Wednesday’s game, between a Huddersfield academy side and Huddersfield University.
She said: “I just can’t believe someone could do something like this.
“It was next to the bench for two-and-a-half years and it was obvious that it was there for Adam.
“They have got no respect for him.
“Please, if you’ve taken it, you don’t have to come and see me, just bring it back before the match.”
Adam, an 18-year-old student at Huddersfield New College, died when he was hit by a car on New Hey Road in Salendine Nook, near the college, on March 6 2007.
A 24-year-old man from Oldham was arrested in February this year on suspicion of death by dangerous driving and is currently on bail.
The bench, which is engraved with Adam’s name, and the skimmia – a small evergreen tree – were put in place shortly afterwards.
The plant is in a big green pot and has red flowers similar to the colour worn by Huddersfield RUFC players, was taken some time between Monday evening and yesterday morning.
Beverley, 50, who lived with Adam at Woodhead Road in Holmbridge, said: “I’ve not got Adam to look after any more, but caring for the skimmia, nurturing it and watering it, was like I was looking after him. It’s more than just a plant to me.”
Adam’s girlfriend Laura Davidson, now 21, added: “It has absolutely no monetary value at all but the money is irrelevant.
“Whether it cost 10p or £10,000, it’s the fact that it represents Adam that’s important.
“It’s in the same place that his ashes were scattered. It’s very special to us.”
Wednesday’s memorial game kicks off at 7.30pm.