Plastic plaque to beat thieves

The Rose Garden at Mesnes Park

The Rose Garden at Mesnes Park

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A GROUP is hoping to replace a memorial plaque in a Wigan park which was stolen by thieves looking for metal.

The Friends of Mesnes Park are currently in discussions to replace a bronze plaque which was dedicated to the former Freeman of the Borough, Alderman and Mayor Coun Francis Pagett.

The plaque was stolen last year and now members of the group are in the process of sourcing a plastic plaque with a bronze effect to be relaid at the rose garden,

The replacement is still in its early stages, with no costings or timescales set in place.

Kathleen Blanks, member of Friends of Mesnes Park, said: “We were so upset and disappointed to find the plaque stolen.

“Now we want the plaque restored as it was before.

“During the last committee meeting, a member said he knew someone who could sort out a replacement and now we are in the process of sourcing this.

“It will be made of plastic, but will look like bronze, so it will be worthless for thieves,

“We have been searching for old photos to find the exact wording and were delighted when the Evening Post found one in their archives which will help us immensely.”

Coun Pagett died in 1949, aged 66, after more than 40 years on the local and national political scene.

A plaque was installed shortly after his death and a rose garden was renovated in 2003.

The rose garden was officially opened by Sir Ian Mckellen and the Friends intended to invite relatives of Coun Pagett, but had been unable to contact them.

But following coverage in the Evening Post, the late Coun Pagett’s grandson, also called Francis and living in Lytham, along with great grandson Andrew – now living in South Manchester – plus great, great grandson Thomas, attended a small ceremony to inaugurate a memorial bench.

The Friends are now aiming to get back in touch with them to inform them of any progress.

Sue Turner, chairman of The Friends, added: “The plaque was dedicated to Coun Pagett, who was chair of the leisure committee at the time and was a member of a long-standing Wigan family.

“It is only right we replace the plaque.”