A bench erected in memory of Greenwich residents who died of Covid-19 has been returned after it was stolen earlier this week.
The memorial bench, which was installed just a few days before the theft in King George’s Field, outside Greenwich Cemetery, was returned late at night on Thursday, February 18.
It is one of 23 installed across the borough, after the public told the council how they wanted to commemorate those who lost their lives to Covid-19.
CCTV cameras in the area are being checked for information to help catch the culprits.
Councillor Adel Khaireh, Cabinet Member for Culture, Communities and Equalities, said: “Benches don’t just get up and walk away on their own.
“Whether or not it was returned by chance, or the thieves were shamed into giving it back, we may never know. But we want to say a huge thank you to the public for helping us raise awareness.
“If residents have any information about the theft and those responsible – please contact the police on 101.”
Leader of the council Councillor Danny Thorpe said that he was ‘truly appalled’ that someone would steal this bench.
According to the UK Health Security Agency, 604 people have died of Covid-19 in Royal Greenwich since the pandemic began.
Cllr Thorpe and Cllr Khaireh, Cabinet Member for Culture, Communities and Equalities officially opened the first memorial on Wednesday, February 16.
The pair hosted a tree-planting ceremony at Plumstead Gardens, where the first memorial is now in place.
They were joined by ward Councillor Angela Cornforth, local faith leaders and the Plumstead Gardens Friends group.
The remaining memorial benches will be installed in parks and open spaces across the borough, as a place for residents to remember loved ones and reflect on events of the past two years.
They will also serve as a thank you for the tireless efforts of key workers throughout the pandemic.
Cllr Thorpe said: “Last year, we asked residents to tell us how they would like to commemorate the hundreds of thousands who lost their lives to Covid-19 and remember the wider impact of the pandemic in Royal Greenwich.
“I am so pleased to now be able to put these memorial benches and trees into place.
“I encourage residents, friends and colleagues alike to make use of these peaceful spaces, to remember loved ones and reflect on the challenges we have all faced.
“I hope these memorials will also serve as a thank you to our key workers, a reminder of their hard work, dedication and of the huge adversities each and every one of us have had to overcome.”