More heartbreak for grieving Stourbridge family after memorial tree is damaged (From Stourbridge News)
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More heartbreak for grieving Stourbridge family after memorial tree is damaged
Kyle Lockley with the plaque that stood by the tree planted in memory of his mum Michelle who died in November 2011.
A GRIEVING family have had their heartbreak compounded by the disappearance of a tree planted in memory of a much-loved Stourbridge mum-of-two.
The family of Michelle Lockley, who lost her battle against cancer in November 2011, had been struggling to come to terms with the 44-year-old’s untimely death.
But to add to their grief they have now discovered a young evergreen oak tree planted last May in her memory in Mary Stevens Park has vanished.
At first they thought the six-foot tree, worth £200, had been dug up and stolen but police believe its disappearance is linked to an arson attack reported on the Norton on December 10 which damaged other trees, a fence and also hit the bandstand.
Stourbridge inspector Dez Lambert said: “This was someone’s special tree so it’s not just about the damage but the emotional impact this has caused as well.
“Although I don’t think in the dark whoever did this would have even seen the memorial plaque with the tree.”
Michelle’s aunt Sharon Gilson-Pinches said the whole family has been left extremely “upset and angry” over the loss of the tree which was discovered on New Year’s Day.
Mrs Gilson-Pinches said: “Even though the family knew Michelle was terminally ill we are all still trying to come to terms with actually losing her, especially her two sons.
“They have had to face many life changes in the last 12 months and this really is the last thing they needed to have happen. It’s very upsetting and I can’t comprehend the mentality of the despicable people that would do this.
“Michelle wasn't just a much-loved member of our family but also highly thought of by everyone who knew her. She was a natural giver and would do anything for anybody if she could, always going that extra mile.”
Keen rugby and cricket fan Mrs Lockley, of Stamford Road, Brierley Hill, who worked at Iceland in Stourbridge, was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 but was given the all-clear a year later after major surgery and treatment.
However the cancer returned in 2009 and her condition was diagnosed as terminal - and she passed away at Mary Stevens Hospice 14 months ago.
A popular character at Stourbridge Rugby Club and Enville Cricket Club - where she became the first woman ever to be voted onto the committee, Mrs Lockley left two sons Kyle, now 21, and Rhys, now 19, who played for both sporting teams.
Anyone with any information about the tree’s disappearance or the vandalism that occured on the park on December 10 is urged to contact Sergeant Keith Pagan at Stourbridge Police by calling 101.
Meanwhile at St Mary’s Primary School in Kingswinford a tree planted in memory of a teacher who died of cancer has also been found vandalised.
The top six-feet of the evergreen tree, remembering teacher Diane Holden who died in the 1990s, was recently found lying on its side in the school grounds.
Teacher Carol Taylor said: “Who can understand why someone would want to vandalise this memorial tree for no reason? If it caused problems why could they not discuss it with a visit to the school?
“May the person who vandalised it feel shame and regret. Hopefully the tree is a fighter as was the lady whose memory it stands for, and will battle to become that shapely tree again.”