Thieves steal memorial for Morecambe dad

The stolen plaque was a tribute to Graces father, Frank Bell, pictured here in his Heysham bookshop in the 1970s.
The stolen plaque was a tribute to Graces father, Frank Bell, pictured here in his Heysham bookshop in the 1970s.

A daughter has been left heartbroken after thieves snuck into her garden to steal a memorial for her late father.

Grace Holmes has kept a stone plaque in her garden for 10 years as a tribute to her father Frank Bell.

The stone plaque.

The stone plaque.

Mr Bell’s ashes were scattered over the engraved plaque in 2007 and has remained a cherished item for the family ever since.

“I just want it back, it was something to look at, to remember my dad,” said Grace who lives in Morecambe.

“I’m devastated, I honestly didn’t think it had much value, I just can’t understand it.

“It is not a nice feeling, especially when you live alone.”

After returning home from work Grace noticed the plaque was missing from its usual spot behind the outdoor dining set, opposite the conservatory.

The morning after Grace discovered her eight-year-old black cat Tuilia was also missing.

“To have the plaque and my cat go missing at the same time, it is very odd,” said Grace who works as a carer at a residential home.

“My cat is not a stay at home cat but she would often go to two of my neighbours, she stays around the cul-de-sac.

“As for the plaque, I don’t know how they knew it was there, how they moved it, to me it was sentimental.”

The plaque, believed to represent William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, was one of Mr Bell’s favourite pieces during his time as an antiques collector.

Mr Bell and his wife Gladys ran F H Bells bookshop on Heysham Road during the 1970s and were popular in the community.

The plaque has a biblical inscription at the bottom which reads: “God be merciful to us a sinner.”

“I should be able to leave what I want in my own garden,” said the mum-of-one.

“It took me and two other men to move it when I moved to here from my dads house, it is very heavy, they must of had a van.”

Police were called to the Morecambe home on December 22 at around 6pm.

Officers have valued the plaque at £100 and believe more than one person was involved in the theft. Anyone with any information should contact police on 101 quoting log number WB1610616.

Grace would like to thank those who have supported her, including Annie Elizabeth Richards, during her appeal.