War memorial hit by vandals

KEVI executive headteacher Simon Taylor with the school war memorial which has been vandalised. Picture by Jane Coltman.
KEVI executive headteacher Simon Taylor with the school war memorial which has been vandalised. Picture by Jane Coltman.

Callous thieves have stolen a war memorial plaque from Morpeth’s high school.

The names of the 58 students and couple of teachers from the then King Edward VI Grammar School who died during World War I were inscribed on the bronze plate.

It had been jimmied off the stone structure overnight and the school’s executive headteacher Simon Taylor noticed it was missing on Tuesday morning.

A service of remembrance takes place at KEVI every year on the Monday after Remembrance Sunday.

The memorial was re-dedicated in 2011 following previous thefts.

Mr Taylor said: “The new plaques we put in place were much more secure, but there was still always a risk of theft.

“However, because of the work that we carried out, the thieves will have needed to go to a lot of effort.

“It’s really heart-breaking when you think of the value in terms of Morpeth’s heritage and the remembrance element and the plaque may well be sold to a scrap dealer for a small amount.

“I’m not optimistic of getting it back, but hopefully if it has been sold to someone, they will recognise that it is school property and contact the police.”

The memorial was commissioned by grammar school head George Dakyns in 1922 and it was moved to the grounds of the high school further up Cottingwood Lane when it was built in the 1960s.

Rev Simon White, Rector of Morpeth, said: “Morpeth residents will be gobsmacked when they hear the news, especially as Remembrance Sunday is less than two months away.”

Inquiries are on-going into the incident. Anyone with information can call Northumbria Police on 101 – extension 69191, reference 423 150915.