Community rallies to protect memorial to Doncaster youngsters who died tragically

Residents in a Doncaster community are rallying to protect a memorial garden built 12 years ago to honour four young people who died tragically.

Wednesday, 17th April 2019, 15:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th April 2019, 18:00 pm

Mexborough Memorial Garden was opened at West Road, Mexborough, in 2007, dedicated to the memories of Kyle McDermott, Jamie Hatfield, Ronnie Mills and Matthew Hill.

But locals were shocked earlier this month when they found a plaque appeared to have been pulled from the monument.

Councillor Sean Gibbons, pictured in the Memorial Garden on West Road, Mexborough. Picture: NDFP-26-03-19-RossingtonHall-3

Initially there feared it had been stolen – but now it has emerged that it was found by a local resident who took it home to keep it safe until it could be re-fixed.

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Mexborough ward Coun Sean Gibbons said he was shocked when he originally discovered the plaque was missing.

But he was pleased that the community had rallied to take action.

He said: “We are looking at getting together a Friends of the Memorial Garden group, and St Leger Homes have said they will do a weekly cleanse and sweep of the area.

“We originally thought the plaque had been stolen, but it was in someone's safe hands, and we have also had offers from local people who said they would be happy to fix it back in place.

“We are all working to reformulate a friends group, which I think originally kept an eye on the site. We need to remind people it is a place to pay respects, not to cause damage.”

Kyle died in 2006, aged seven after a collision with a van on Maple Road, Mexborough.

Matthew collapsed and died in 2004. He had been playing football at Dearne Valley Leisure Centre and was found to have suffered from a rare heart condition.

Jamie died aged 18 after a night out and his body was found in a scrapyard on Leach Lane, Mexborough.

Ronnie died aged 26 after being hit by a train.

The garden was built in what used to be a garage forecourt. It was transformed with four benches, flowers and shrubs.

It was opened by former boxer and charity campaigner Tommy Joyce, with family and friends of the youngsters it was built to remember present.