A petition asking Aberdeenshire Council to replace a memorial bench at Stonehaven’s war memorial is gathering support.
The online petition was set up after the local authority removed a bench dedicated to the memory of Stonehaven woman Jackie Poole, who was killed in a tragic accident 25 years ago.
The council have said that the bench was removed after falling into a state “beyond repair” after two decades, but friends and family of Jackie claim that the local authority had agreed to a “lifelong contract” for it’s upkeep, and argue that it should be replaced.
The petition states: “Jackie Poole was the manageress in the local supermarket and whilst at work she was involved in a fatal accident, whereby she was crushed by a forklift truck and lost her life. It was a sad loss to the community and her ashes were scattered on the hill leading to the war memorial in Stonehaven and a memorial bench was placed on the spot.
“Last year, according to Aberdeenshire council the bench fell into such a state of disrepair it was removed, despite there being a lifelong contract for its upkeep. The council advised that a new bench and plaque could be purchased and placed back in the spot.
“To mark the 25th anniversary the council were contacted to replace the bench but they then refused to put another bench anywhere at the memorial due to overcrowding of benches and complaints regarding the issue. The memorial bench of Jackie Poole was placed on the hill at a time when no other benches were at the monument and it was a spot where the beautiful town of Stonehaven can be admired, a place that she loved dearly. Please sign my petition to get Aberdeenshire council to change their decision.”
However, Aberdeenshire Council have denied that a decision has already been made, saying that discussions are “ongoing”. A spokesperson said: “This particular bench was installed over two decades ago and was removed last year as had reached condition where it was beyond repair.
“There are currently a number of benches around Stonehaven war memorial and the surrounding ground and it is therefore right that we consider wider views on the provision of seating in this area before any decision is taken in relation to replacement of this particular memorial bench. We are aware of the concerns regarding replacement and discussions with the local community are ongoing.”
Several of Jackie’s friends and family have commented on the petition, which has more than 170 signatures already. Rhoda Howie commented: “Jackie was a personal friend of mine and she fell in love with Stonehaven when she rounded the corner at the top of the Bervie Braes and saw the view. She deserves to have the bench replaced and it’s time the council kept it’s word.”
Jennifer Reid said: “Jackie was my mums very good friend and I recently tried to find her bench on a walk up at the Memorial and wondered what had happened to it. It was one of the very first up there so was quite perplexed as to where it was. Please replace Jackies bench. Thanks. Rip Jackie.”
The petition can be viewed here.