Dagenham woman shocked as dad's memorial bench is stolen
PUBLISHED: 12:34 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:14 12 September 2019
A woman from Dagenham says she is disgusted that a memorial bench remembering her father has apparently been stolen.
Michelle Grant, 42, made her yearly visit to her dad's bench at Barking Abbey ahead of his birthday.
But when she got to the site the wooden seat dedicated to John Bloom, who would have been 68 this year, was gone.
She went to the council to see if it had been removed by the authority but an email from the leader of the council, Darren Rodwell, revealed there was no record of it being removed, suggesting that it has been stolen.
Michelle said: "He worked for 36 years in the borough and I find it heartbreaking that it's just been removed.
"I was in tears. I was the shock that it wasn't there. Something like this, in his memory, was beautiful. To have something like that gone is heartbreaking.
"I'm just disgusted that someone could do that. It's disgusting to go so low to knick something for no reason."
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Mr Bloom, who died in 2013 aged 61, was a decades-long caretaker for the council and the bench was paid for by staff at the Frizlands Lane Recycling Centre around 2014.
The engraving read: "In loving memory of John Bloom, missed by daughters, family and friends."
Ms Grant was hoping to hold a special commemoration for what would have Mr Bloom's 70th birthday in 2021, but now it's uncertain that will be possible.
"The bench was dad's bench. That was for me to go to and speak to him. Every time I come into Barking I can always feel his presence."
Michelle is hoping the council will be able to pay for a replacement. Failing that, she said she wants to set up a fundraising page to get a replacement.
She would put it somewhere secure, like her garden or near Mr Bloom's grave, to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.
This isn't the first time Ms Grant has been in the Post. Most recently in 2009, she made headlines for giving birth to a baby boy on the Tube at Barking station.
The council did not respond to a request for comment.