Elderly couple's anger after 'dreadful' Stanley Park rose thefts

An elderly couple who met and married in Blackpool were upset to hear about the thefts of roses in Stanley Park in recent weeks, after some were planted to commemorate their fight against Leukaemia.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 12:30 pm

Eric Bird, 91, and wife Ivy, 90, married in Blackpool 67 years ago after meeting while dancing at the Empress Ballroom.

The couple moved to North Wales seven years ago to be closer to family, but during their time in Blackpool Eric received a devastating diagnosis.

He was diagnosed with Leukaemia at the age of 56, prompting the removal of his spleen and numerous sessions of chemotherapy.

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Eric Bird in 1998 with the roses planted in Stanley Park by Blood Cancer UK, formerly the Leukaemia Research Fund, which provided the plants in commemoration of cancer sufferers. Pic: Martin Bostock/JPI Media

To this day Eric continues to visit his doctor for routine blood tests, but fortunately he made a recovery from the cancer.

Ivy and Eric sought help from charity Leukaemia Research Fund, now known as Blood Cancer UK, which provided support to the couple through Eric's struggles with the disease.

The charity arranged for roses to be planted in a commemorative garden in Stanley Park in 1998, with Eric there on the day to watch the flowers take bloom.

But Ivy said she was saddened to see that roses were being stolen from the park, after the Friends of Stanley Park volunteers spoke out against thefts - with up to 150 of the rare plants having been stolen in the past three years.

"It's absolutely dreadful, but that's just what people are like these days, no concern for anyone else, that's the way things are going," Ivy said.

"It's just terrible. I've heard about this happening years ago, back when there were no cameras, and even now there are, these things still happen.

"My husband was suffering with Leukaemia at the time some of the roses were planted.

"Eric has been very lucky with his health - I just hope this pricks the conscience of whoever has committed this dreadful act."

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