HEARTLESS vandals have defaced a plaque in memory of a Worcester student who drowned in the River Severn in 2018 just 17 days after it was unveiled.
The permanent tribute to tragic Tom Jones was only added to the city’s revamped Sabrina Bridge earlier this month as a permanent memorial to the teenager.
Tom, from Bromsgrove, died after falling into the River Severn on his way home from a night out with friends in September 2018.
Despite a mammoth community effort, his body was found in the river nine days after he went missing in the early hours of September 19.
Sabrina Bridge became the focal point for the tributes following the student’s death and a plaque was commissioned for the revamped bridge to allow the 18-year-old to be remembered.
The plaque sits on the end of the refurbished bridge as it goes on to Hylton Road.
The vandalism has devastated his heartbroken parents Ian and Vicki Jones who spoke of their emotions of having a permanent memorial for their son at the launch.
“We are truly overwhelmed by your support and kindness, this is such a fitting tribute and we honestly can’t put into words what this means to us as a family,” they said.
“We will never ever forget how Worcester came together for us. Our most sincere thanks to Jon Fraser and all involved at Worcestershire County Council for arranging this and for the amazing support you have been.”
Jon Fraser, Worcestershire County Council Highways, said: “We are incredibly disappointed that a plaque on Sabrina Bridge in Worcester, unveiled just two weeks ago, in memory of Thomas Jones, has been vandalised.
“The family has been notified and plans are in place to remove the plaque so that it can be repainted and restored.”
Professor David Green CBE, vice chancellor and chief executive at the University of Worcester, said: “Tom’s tragic and untimely death brought family, friends and the whole community of Worcester together in grief, as the wording on the plaque so eloquently states.
“It is devastating this poignant memorial has been damaged in this way. We hope that swift action is taken to ensure that it is repaired to its rightful condition and our thoughts are, as always, with Tom’s parents, sister, wider family and friends.”
EDITOR’S COMMENT: I HOPE those responsible for this vandalism are thoroughly ashamed.
Tom was tragically taken just weeks into his course at the University of Worcester with the promise of a wonderful future ahead of him.
His death devastated so many but none more so than his wonderful parents Ian and Vicki who have had to grieve so publically.
Their quiet dignity and courage in facing the world to try and prevent another tragedy like Tom’s puts the actions of these vandals in perspective.
Tom’s memory will never be scarred in the manner his plaque has been, nor will the love and support this city has for his wonderful parents.