War heroes rally to fix vandalism to memorial to Doncaster soldier Liam

Some of the damage to the memorial garden
Some of the damage to the memorial garden
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Caring former soldiers are banding together  to restore a memorial garden dedicated to a Doncaster soldier killed serving his country.

Members of the armed forces community were left disgusted after hearing of vandalism at the garden set up in Dunscroft to the memory of Liam Maughan, who was killed in Aghanistan seven years ago.

The damaged plaque

The damaged plaque

Now they have rallied to replace the items that have been destroyed at the site, which was opened by Liam's mum and dad in 2010.

Former soldiers have pledged to replace a tree that was pulled from the ground. And a replacement plaque to take the place of one that was ripped from a bench and wrecked has already been engraved and presented to the people who look after the garden.

Bill Morrison, a trustee of the East Doncaster Development Trust , which looks after the garden next to its base on Station Road, said he had already received the plaque, and had spoken to a former soldier who wants to pay for a new semi mature tree to replace the one that was damaged earlier this year, after reading about it in the Free Press.

Mr Morrison said: "He wants to put in place a reasonable well established tree. We want something that will flower and may be a bit out of the ordinary."

Former Royal Artillery man Richard Piercy, who grew up in the area, contacted Mr Morrison to pledge to replace the tree.

He said of the vandalism: "I am disgusted that this has been done and want to see it repaired as quickly as possible to that end and I would like to pay for the plaque to be repaired and if needed the tree to be replaced, potentially by a bigger one.

"I grew up in close by...and served with the Artillery until I left the Army in 2013. I worked with the Rifles whilst serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan so have a deep afiniity to the regiment and also any soldier that gave their lives for all of us."

Mr Morrison said people were now aware of what had happened in the memorial garden, but short of putting a tall fence around it, it was difficult to guarantee security. But the decision had originally been made to have the garden as an open area.

He is urging people to keep an eye on the site, and said he hoped that its security may be helped as a shop opposite, which had been empty, was now filled.

The plaque was presented to the trust this week at a Haffield Colliery Brass Band concert in Askern. The donor did not want to be named.

Mr Morrison said: "I think the people who have come forward to help should be saluted. We are hoping that when everything is fixed, we may be able to have a re-dedication, perhaps with those who have helped present.

The Dunscroft Community Garden was opened in 2010 in memory of Liam, who was killed aged just 18, serving with third battalion, The Rifles.

Former Hatfield Visual Arts College Liam lost his life while on patrol. He was shot dead by a sniper while on a rooftop in the town of Sangin in March 2010.