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Memorial bench was dying dad's final wish - now it's been stolen

Calvert Howarth's distraught family regarded the bench as his 'resting place'

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Calvert Howarth's daughter Nicola with granddaughter Maggie, Kathryn Howarth and Calvert's mum Jean Howarth on the bench before it was stolen

A family has been left distraught by the theft of a memorial bench which was a dying man’s final wish.

Calvert Howarth, 46, a truck driver for Kenyon’s Haulage, died in January 2017 after being given a devastating cancer diagnosis just six weeks earlier.

Nearing the end of his life, he decided to pay for a memorial bench in the Huncoat garden of his beloved sister Kathryn Howarth where his family could gather and remember him.

Calvert, who lived in Rishton, does not have a grave and his family regarded the bench, which carried a plaque inscribed ‘With love from Calvert, 1971-2017’, as his final resting place.

The stolen bench

Kathryn and Calvert’s son Leon, 18, who now lives with her and her partner Mark Flower, discovered that the bench had been taken from the front of their house in Highergate, on the morning of Tuesday, July 31.

Kathryn, 46, said the bench was the centrepoint of a little memorial area on the patio. She said: “We were devastated and horrified to see it gone. Surely they could have seen the inscription and realised this was of great emotional importance to our family?

“To us it’s his resting place. It’s the spot he had decided to put his little memorial gift to us.

“Calvert doesn’t have a grave, we didn’t put a plaque at the crematorium, this is the place where we remember him.

“It’s a peaceful place with flowers where myself and Leon come to remember him and smile about memories of him.”

She added that it has become a special place for the family, meeting for a glass of wine there at New Year and gathering there to remember him on his birthday.

Calvert’s daughter Nicola has just given birth to his first granddaughter Maggie and they loved to go there.

Kathryn described the thieves as ‘heartless’.

She said: “What’s the value to them? They can probably sell it for a few quid but it meant so much to us. It’s just heartless and cruel.”

Calvert Howarth with his sister Kathryn

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Huncoat councillor Eamonn Higgins who visited the family, said it was a ‘despicable act’, adding: “I cannot believe how low some people will stoop.”

A Lancashire police spokesman said the bench was taken between 10.30pm on Monday, July 30 and 6.30am the following day. They confirmed it had not been recovered and no arrests had been made. Call 101 quoting reference ED1817385.