Replacement memorial vandalised

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Community House Mid Canter bury receptionist/administrator Jeanette Price at the wrecked memorial site.

A memorial to two women who lost their lives in the former Work and Income Building (Winz) on Cass Street, in Ashburton, has been targeted by vandals and broken into three pieces.

Staff at Community House Mid Canterbury, which now owns the building, found the memorial base up-rooted on Friday morning and the Oamaru stone sculpture inset with paua in pieces.

The memorial sits on the Cass Street side of the building, in an area which also includes seating. It was unveiled in April 2016 to remember Winz employees Peggy Noble and Susan Leigh Cleveland “who were killed while serving the people of Ashburton” on September 1, 2014.

Community House Mid Canterbury manager John Driscoll said he was “gutted” by the act of vandalism.

It was the second time the memorial site had been targeted.

A few years ago the sculpture had been damaged beyond repair and a replacement had been made by local sculptor Peter Green, who made the original.

“This time someone has kicked the base out of the ground completely and wrecked the carving again.”

Mr Driscoll said the damage had been reported to police and CCTV footage was being reviewed. The memorial was set up as lasting community memorial to the women who died and he now felt for their families and others affected by the incident.

The memorial was built with $3000 of funding from the Ministry of Social Development and topped up with donations and Community House reserves money.

A replacement memorial would go up, Mr Driscoll said.

By Mick Jensen.