THE first Christmas without her daughter was always going to be difficult for Yvonne Rees-Coleman – but her misery magnified when thieves ransacked a memorial in her name.
Bethan was just 20 when she was found dead at Newent Lake on February 9.
Bethan’s mum, Yvonne, has made regular pilgrimages from South Wales to the Newent beauty spot, where her daughter spent her last moments, to lay flowers and mementoes.
Her last trip was extra special as this is the first Christmas she will be spending without Bethan, a former Hartpury student.
Yvonne left a Christmas posy with a message in Welsh alongside flowers and a mug with a candle left by another friend with Bethan in their thoughts.
But she was devastated to learn through a Facebook tribute page set up in her daughter’s name that the items had been stolen.
“When I heard it had been taken by someone I was very upset and very hurt,” she said.
“It is extremely hard. This incident has completely and utterly left me both speechless and very, very sad.
“It is the first Christmas without my daughter and I have been robbed of being able to give her something at this special time of year.
“It is supposed to be the season of goodwill and somebody has stolen these items for their own personal gain.
“When I first came to Newent I thought it was such a nice community.
“I know many people there are also upset by this, but it has left a nasty taste in my mouth.
“It is extremely awful to lose a child, no one should have to go through it.
“This has been the first Christmas without Bethan and it has been very difficult.
“This means that I have nothing there for my daughter, it is a difficult pill to swallow.”
A Newent resident, who did not want to be named, said: “This is clearly a very upsetting time for the family and what has happened is awful.
“It does not reflect the nature of Newent people.
“We are a tight-knit community and many of us were very angry and upset by what has happened.”