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Retford sign maker replaces Newark Parish Church gardens signage that was vandalised

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A sign maker has replaced church garden signage in Newark after vandals tore one of its posts.

Local sign maker Jay Chapman has installed a plaque to replace the signage in St Mary’s Church Gardens of Remembrance after it was targeted in May this year.

Newark and Sherwood District Council, which maintains the gardens and provides the signage, originally installed the wooden signs with painted lettering, in keeping with the historic conservation area in the town centre.

The vandalised signpost in May this year.
The vandalised signpost in May this year.

The authority described the act as appalling and issued an appeal for information to track down the perpetrators.

Having read about the vandalism on social media Mr Chapman, who produced the original signs, got in touch with the council and offered to replace the bespoke signage at no cost.

“I felt gutted when I saw the picture of the vandalism, so I got straight in touch with the council to say I would replace it at no cost,” he said.

The new plaque in Newark's St Mary Magdalene Gardens of Remembrance, by Jay Chapman.
The new plaque in Newark's St Mary Magdalene Gardens of Remembrance, by Jay Chapman.

“The sign is handmade from exterior ply, painted up to a finish in exterior Farrow and Ball Eggshell Studio Green, then pounced in chalk for the outline of the letters before being traditionally hand painted in the colours specified — all in one shot enamels.”

Based near Retford, Mr Chapman specialises in traditional hand-painted signage, from small signs to large wall murals, boats, to vintage vehicles.

The council recently partnered with volunteers from the Newark in Bloom group to revamp the flower borders and tidy the grounds ready for the autumn. New sustainable herbaceous perennials and bulbs were planted ready for the spring and a flower bed was cleared ready for two memorial trees to be planted.

To help combat anti-social behaviour, the council also trimmed back a hedge in the gardens to help increase visibility and removed any litter. New historical interpretation signage is being added.

During the spring, two new bug hotels created by Collingham Men in Sheds were added to help with biodiversity and to encourage wildlife and the Victorian style lamp posts surrounding the gardens were re-painted.

Council leader David Lloyd, said: "We were absolutely overwhelmed by Jay’s kind offer to replace the signage at the church gardens. There really is no excuse for the small minority who indulge themselves causing such appalling damage and destruction like we saw with the original sign — so in any case, it’s a real shame that it had to be replaced at all.

“However, we are immensely grateful for Jay’s offer and we’re delighted to have the new signage back up in the memorial gardens.

"Our teams work exceptionally hard and mindless anti-social behaviour like this will not be tolerated. In any case of vandalism — we would always appreciate the public’s support in finding those responsible. You can report anti-social behaviour to us via our website, or by calling us.”

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