Despair after weeping angels statues wrenched from graves of loved ones at cemetery

Josie Read at the grave of her father, Arthur Knowles, in Holt Cemetery, from where an angel statue

Josie Read at the grave of her father, Arthur Knowles, in Holt Cemetery, from where an angel statue was taken. Picture: DAVID BALE - Credit: Archant

It stood watching over the grave of a beloved father for 23 years.

But now a small statue of an angel has been ripped from its place in Holt's town cemetery, shocking and upsetting the family of Arthur Knowles.

And it seems angels on other gravestones at the cemetery have also been taken in a string of incidents, going back to at least January.

Mr Knowles's daughter Josie Read, from Holt, said she was 'devastated' to discover the damage on Tuesday, and was unsettled to hear it was the not the first angel on the site to have been wrenched from its position.

She said: 'I was physically shocked. I found the flowers strewn everywhere and the little angel had been physically wrenched off, but the stem bolt was still there.

'It had been there for 23 years, not harming anybody, and it was in a weather-beaten state.'

Mrs Read said once she got over her initial upset she spoke to a maintenance worker at the cemetery, and could then see where two or three other statues had been taken, including from the grave belonging to her cousin's family.

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After reporting the damage in a Holt Facebook group, Mrs Read said she heard of similar incidents at the site including at another woman's family grave in January, her cousin's in March, and a friend's within the past fortnight. She said she believed the damage to her father's grave happened within the past six weeks.

Mrs Read said: 'Bizarrely it seems to be just angels, although there are many chapter tributes and other things at the cemetery.

'It's quite macabre and quite upsetting that someone might be going around and taking the angels.

'You'd think if it was kids, they would have just thrown it away, but there was no debris or anything hanging around in the bushes.

'It's mindless and distressing in a town where we think we are safe. It's sad that this is the way of the world now; that we can't respect a local man's grave.'

A spokesman from Holt Town Council said they had been made aware of the vandalism to Mr Knowles's grave, but did not want to comment further until more was known.

Norfolk Police said they did not have any records of vandalism at the site this year.