Kind stonemason repairs vandalised Harpenden gravestones for free

PUBLISHED: 17:06 06 November 2017

Stonemason Anthony Knox fixing the vandalised gravestones

Stonemason Anthony Knox fixing the vandalised gravestones

Archant

A kindhearted stonemason has repaired vandalised gravestones in Harpenden for free to show “there are still some good people in the world”.

Damaged gravestones in Westfield Road Cemetery. Picture: Danny Loo Damaged gravestones in Westfield Road Cemetery. Picture: Danny Loo

At the beginning of October thugs damaged 10 gravestones in Westfield Road Cemetery - some were toppled over and others smashed.

As most of the plots date back decades St Albans district council (SADC) struggled to trace the owners, who also may not be able to pay for repairs.

Instead, owner of Memorial Makeovers Anthony Knox has repaired three of the headstones over two days and waived his £1,600 bill.

He said: “After hearing about this crime, I went to the cemetery to have a look at the vandalised memorials.

Damaged gravestones in Westfield Road Cemetery. Picture: Danny Loo Damaged gravestones in Westfield Road Cemetery. Picture: Danny Loo

“I thought it was a terrible, shocking thing that had happened and as a stonemason, it saddened me to see all these broken headstones.”

Immediately after the criminal damage a Herts police Safer Neighbourhood Team conducted high visibility patrols around the cemetery.

Anthony added: “If I hadn’t done this there is a danger that it might not have been done at all. The damage was extensive, but they now look as good as new.

“As a military man, a sergeant with the Air Training Corps, I believe in showing respect to the dead. By doing this, I hope it will demonstrate that there’s still some good people in the world.”

Damaged gravestones in Westfield Road Cemetery. Picture: Danny Loo Damaged gravestones in Westfield Road Cemetery. Picture: Danny Loo

District councillor for Harpenden North, Bert Pawle, said he was “saddened” by the crime at the time, calling it “disrespectful”.

SADC portfolio holder for business and the community, Cllr Beric Read, said: “The whole community will be grateful to Anthony for volunteering his services in this way. It was a magnificent gesture.

“There were serious concerns that the graves might not be repaired because it was proving difficult to find the owners.

“Anthony has shown himself to be a very caring and public-spirited stonemason and has done an outstanding job.”

SADC is also responsible for two other cemeteries in the district - Hatfield Road Cemetery and London Road Cemetery.

Anyone with information about the vandalism should contact Herts police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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