Community in shock after vandals destroy statue at church in Heckmondwike

Church leaders are urging the public to keep a watchful eye over their grounds after vandals smashed a statue.

By Martin Shaw
Thursday, 19th August 2021, 11:30 am
Peter Moreland with the smashed statue at Holy Spirit Church in Heckmondwike
Peter Moreland with the smashed statue at Holy Spirit Church in Heckmondwike

The statue of Our Blessed Lady stands in the grotto outside Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church on Bath Road, Heckmondwike.

It was originally brought back from Medjugorje in Bosnia in 2004 by Father Michael Sullivan.

The statue has been smashed into four pieces and the damage was found last week by current parish priest Father Nicholas Hird.

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Peter Moreland, chairman of the parish council, said the community was shocked at the damage to a religious object which stands on holy ground.

“It is very upsetting and it’s a great concern to us that someone would do something like this,” he said.

“The grotto area is where people go to sit and meditate and also lay flowers. Ashes of loved ones have been buried here too and this is essentially holy ground.”

The statue itself had little or no monetary worth but it was what it symbolised that gave it value to church members.

Mr Moreland said the incident had been reported to the police “who did not seem too interested”.

He appealed to the local community to keep a watch over the church and its grounds and report any suspicious behaviour.

He said if anyone knew those responsible, the church would like that information.

Mr Moreland said the church did not want to go down the route of security fencing or closed circuit television cameras if that could be avoided.