The recent vandalism of Ilkley’s WWI and WWII memorials in the Memorial Gardens was discovered prior to the start of comprehensive cleaning and repair work commissioned by Ilkley Town Council at a cost of £11,300.
The work began last Monday to clean and repair the WWI cenotaph ready for Ilkley’s Act of Remembrance in the Memorial Gardens next month. This is when the first act of vandalism was noticed, with a second incident on Wednesday morning.
Cllr Ros Brown, who has been leading the project, spoke of her sadness at the recent damage: “This is the centenary year of the WWI cenotaph and we have consulted with Bradford Council’s Conservation Team to ensure any works undertaken are appropriate for a listed monument of this importance. While the cenotaph is structurally sound, care needs to be taken when removing the graffiti each time to ensure its removal does not cause lasting damage.
“The Town Council appreciates the immense sacrifices represented by these memorials and the many peaceful hours residents and visitors spend in the Memorial Gardens.
“It is important these crimes are dealt with swiftly and effectively so the memorials can continue to point us towards peace and the retelling and remembrance of our shared human stories. The Town Council said is grateful to the police and Bradford Council for their response.”
Following an appeal last week West Yorkshire police have arrested a 15 year-old male on suspicion of criminal damage and enquiries are ongoing.
The Town Council are in the process of receiving quotes for cleaning and repair works to the WWII memorial and associated pavilions.