Stolen memorial to soldier killed in Afghanistan is found dumped in Dagenham river
PUBLISHED: 12:00 26 September 2018
The stolen statue of a soldier who was killed in action has been found the day after a replacement was put up.
Warrant Officer Ian Fisher, from Elm Park, died on the final day of an operation in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in November 2013.
In 2015 a memorial bench and statue was installed in Beam Valley Country Park, Dagenham, in the 42-year-old’s memory.
But in August 2017 vandals cut down the metal sculpture of Ian and stole it.
Two weeks ago Barking and Dagenham Council paid for a new statue to be put up in the park, and just a day later workmen found the original in the River Beam – where it is thought it has been since it was stolen.
Ian died after a meeting with the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) was attacked by a suicide vehicle improvised to become an explosive device.
The bench also features sculptures of Barking-born folk singer Billy Bragg and Ford Dagenham sewing machinists who fought for equal pay.
The original statue will now be given to Ian’s mum, Helen, and she said that she is going to find space for it in her garden.
She said: “It is wonderful that the council have paid for a replacement, and they have also said that there is going to be a new information board which means more people will be able to read about why the statues are there, and hopefully more people will take notice of them.
“The important thing is that there is a new statue.
“It is uncanny how the old one turned up a day after it had been replaced, but I couldn’t let it be thrown away so we will be putting it in the garden somewhere.”
The statue cost Barking and Dagenham Council more than £2,500 to replace.
Councillor Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “It is only right that the statue has been replaced and we continue to pay tribute to a man who showed such bravery for his country.”