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Memorial bench to tragic AJ has been defaced

Posted on - 15th April, 2016 - 5:59pm | Author - | Posted in - Ashton-on-Ribble, Crime, Larches, News
The graffiti scrawled on the bench in memory of AJ (right)

The graffiti scrawled on the bench in memory of AJ (right)

A bench dedicated to a Preston toddler who died from a rare disease has been vandalised.

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Anthony Rushe (AJ) died in January last year aged 13 months and his parents Jenna Bannon and Tony Rushe had the bench donated to them by the city council.

The bench sits in Ashton Bank, and next to a plaque explaining why it is there someone has scrawled a graffiti tag in black marker pen next to it.

AJ had been diagnosed with Krabbe’s disease – which is not currently screened for by the NHS and affects one in 100,000 children – and his parents have been fundraising and campaigning for the health service to change its policy ever since his death.

The bench was unveiled in July 2015

The bench was unveiled in July 2015

His family, who live in the Larches area, have been left angered by the actions of whoever decided to deface the bench.

His mother Jenna, 28, said: “I’m absolutely devastated. It has really broken my heart.

“I can see the bench from my balcony.  The worst part is that it’s right next to the plaque which is dedicated to my son.

“So unless they cannot read, they must know it’s for a baby.

Tony and Jenna with AJ at his christening

Tony and Jenna with AJ at his christening

Jenna said they have reported the graffiti to Preston City Council to ask for it to be removed.

Related: Watch AJs dream flashmob on the Flag Market

Larches councillor Mark Yates, who helped to organise the bench’s installation, said: “This was a memorial to a very brave young boy this is a despicable act by someone and I would urge anybody who as any information about this to contact Preston Police in confidence.”

Anyone with information on who scrawled on the bench is asked to contact Preston Police on 101.

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