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Memorial bench wrecked in car crash at Forest beauty spot

By Ben_Falconer  |  Posted: March 03, 2014

The George Read bench has been demolished

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PARISH leaders want to put another memorial bench at a Forest of Dean beauty spot after it was wrecked in a car crash.

The bench in memory of longstanding district councillor George Read has stood at the spectacular viewpoint from Plump Hill, near Mitcheldean since 2010, a year after he died.

But on Thursday night it was smashed to pieces when a car didn’t make the sharp bend.

The driver of the car has already come forward to tell Mitcheldean Parish Council he is responsible and the matter is in the hands of insurers.

“We have got the details of the person involved - he came forward to us,” said Mitcheldean Parish Council chairman Douglas Scott.

“There will be an insurance claim but how long that will take to process, I don’t know.”

He said the bench cost around £5,000 and was made with input from children at Dene Magna school and carpenter Jonathan Harrison.

It is placed on the first bend in the road coming up Plump Hill from Mitcheldean and overlooks the Severn Vale and Cotswolds. There is a steep drop beyond it.”

“I can’t imagine what speed he was going up there but thankfully no-one was hurt,” said Mr Scott.

“The bench may have saved him in some way.”

Mr Read, 69, was the last councillor to have served on the Forest of Dean District Council since its creation in 1974 and was awarded an MBE in 1986.

A former chairman of the district council, had represented Mitcheldean and had also served on East Dean Rural District Council for more than 10 years before the creation of the current council.

He was chairman of the environmental heath committee and had a keen interest in planning and development control matters. He was awarded an MBE in 1986.

He was a well-known businessman, having worked at his father’s firm George Read Transport and he also ran the Wilderness Quarry for many years.

Close friend and Independent council colleague Norman Stephens, said it was a great shame to hear that the bench had been wrecked.

“It’s very sad news,” he said.

“He was my best friend and colleague for many years and it was a fitting memorial to him. I just hope it gets put back.”

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  • taylke  |  March 03 2014, 7:26PM

    Replace it, the insurance will pay for that. But put it back in the same place? Maybe not such a bright idea!

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