Cemetery vandals damage family gravestone

PUBLISHED: 17:32 20 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:31 06 May 2010

The damaged family gravestone

The damaged family gravestone

VANDALS have destroyed a cross on the gravestone of a St Albans couple who came to the city more than 80 years ago. Eric Darby, son of Lily and Sidney Thomas Darby, discovered his parents shattered gravestone on Saturday evening while doing voluntary wo

VANDALS have destroyed a cross on the gravestone of a St Albans couple who came to the city more than 80 years ago.

Eric Darby, son of Lily and Sidney Thomas Darby, discovered his parents' shattered gravestone on Saturday evening while doing voluntary work at the Sandridge Cemetery on House Lane.

Mr and Mrs Darby ran Darby's Store on the High Street in Sandridge from 1921 until 1956. Eric kept the shop within the family until 1999 and it has since become the current D & S Village Stores.

Eric, aged 74, said his parents were much respected in the village and added: "Mum and Dad helped everyone and I cannot understand why their gravestone has been picked on." He thinks the gravestone was pushed over by hooligans, causing it to smash against the one behind it, splitting the family monument in two.

Eric has been volunteering at the cemetery for more than 40 years to keep it in shape and said he was upset by what had happened. Eric and his brother John, both of whom still live next to the old Darby's Store, are offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandals.

Sandridge has seen a number of incidents of vandalism in recent months. At the end of July the bark was stripped from a tree dedicated to the memory of Princess Diana in Woodland Park, Jersey Farm. In the same month a children's swing in the nearby Sherwood Avenue recreation ground was set on fire causing £3,000 worth of damage.

If you have any information about the incident at the House Lane Cemetery, please call Eric on 01727 860300.

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