Grieving mum’s fury as tributes to son vanish

Joanne Hargreaves-Doherty is angry after tributes were taken from a tree dedicated to her late son James, who died aged 16 last year
Joanne Hargreaves-Doherty is angry after tributes were taken from a tree dedicated to her late son James, who died aged 16 last year
0
Have your say

Tributes left for a tragic teenager were removed from the spot where he died, the 16-year-old’s furious mum has claimed.

Joanne Hargreaves-Doherty said tokens left to remember James – two butterflies staked into the ground and a tealight candle holder – vanished from The Towers woodlands in Thornton on Friday.

They had been there since the youngster’s death last summer, she said, adding: “I walk the dog there every morning and light a candle. I went up to the tree and there were two hearts that had been knocked over.

“The butterflies were gone and so was the candle holder.

“It was 100 per cent obvious it was a memorial. It was not doing anybody any harm.”

A spokeswoman for Wyre Council said workers who trimmed back the overgrowing woodlands the same day were not responsible – with staff even putting the items back after finding them in a nearby bush.

“Any items left in a public place can be displaced or moved as a result of the weather or by accident, by passers-by or dogs for example,” she said.

“We don’t have a policy in terms of memorabilia left in public places. We talk to the families involved to see how we can accommodate their requests.”

Popular James, a keen ice hockey player who was working as a lifeguard while waiting for his GCSE results from Hodgson Academy in Poulton, hanged himself on Wednesday, August 10 last year.

An inquest returned a conclusion of suicide, with Joanne, of Cleveleys, later launching Doherty’s Destiny in his memory to help youngsters deal with any mental health issues.

She has raised hundreds of pounds so far through the sale of wristbands and badges, and a sponsored walk earlier this year.

She has spent £1,200 on a memorial bench for The Towers, which was tended to by council workers following pleas from Joanne, who wants to improve the popular walking spot. More extensive work cannot be carried out until later this year so wildlife is not disturbed, The Gazette understands.

The area’s county councillor, Andrea Kay, added: “It’s wrong that somebody removed the items.”