Vandals wreck memorial stone dedicated to Wigan teenager who died of meningitis

Heartless yobs have defaced and damaged a Wigan town centre memorial stone to a teenager who tragically died of meningitis.

Thursday, 27th June 2019, 11:06 am
The damaged memorial stone in Wigan town centre

Photos circulated on social media at the weekend showing the wrecked tribute to former Standish High School pupil Jenna Roby, who died suddenly aged just 16 in 2005.

Symbols had been spray-painted onto the stone and two oval-shaped plaques bearing Jenna’s name and tributes to her smashed to smithereens.

The permanent memorial was put up at a spot on The Wiend, between the John Bull Chophouse and the Face of Wigan statue, where Jenna loved to meet up with her friends.

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The damaged memorial stone in Wigan town centre

It is still somewhere for those who knew the popular teenager, who had a talent for sport, art and music, to spend time remembering her.

A friend of Jenna’s family posted about the incident on social media, saying the stone had been tampered with twice in the past three weeks.

He urged anyone with information to pass it on to Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

Disgusted Wiganers also lined up on social media to express their shock and condemnation of the vandalism.

Jenna's memorial stone before it was damaged

One comment read: “So sad when all her friends fund-raised to get that memorial for her. They visit that memorial more than her grave to pay their respects. I hope they find who did it and they pay for a new one for her.”

Discussions also took place online about setting up a crowd-funding facility to help pay for repairs to the stone.

Jenna died of meningitis just 48 hours after she complained of a headache.

The following morning the true extent of her illness became known and her parents rushed her to hospital.

Jenna Roby

However, she never recovered and sadly died the following evening.

Paul Barton, director for environment at Wigan Council, said: “Vandalism of any kind is a selfish act but this incident is particularly disgraceful as it is not only disrespectful but it is distressing for Jenna’s family.

“We share the public’s outrage at this kind of behaviour and the negative impact it has on our town, our residents and our environment.

“We would urge anybody who witnesses vandalism to contact the police with as much information as possible as it is a criminal offence.”

Anyone with information about the vandalism can speak to police on 101 or by calling independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Anti-social behaviour can also be reported to Wigan Council using the Report It app.