RESIDENTS are furious after thoughtless vandals damaged a 'Tommy' memorial statue at a garden of remembrance in Prestwich.

On Sunday morning, people were horrified to see a life sized figure of a 'Tommy' had part of a 'gun' snapped off.

Poppies which had been stuck to lamp posts at the Rectory Lane site had also been torn down.

The statue, inspired by the 'Tommy' statue, designed by Ray Lonsdale in Durham of a weary First World War soldier, holding a rifle and bowing his head solemnly, was designed by Tom Daniel as a tribute to fallen soldiers.

Tom is part of a group of residents, Prestwich Remembers, which organises Prestwich's Remembrance Day Parade

Tom, a veteran and former radio operator for the Royal Signal Corps, said: "I couldn't be more disappointed and upset by the lack of respect these people have shown.

"As a veteran, Remembrance Day is quite important for me, so I was quite heartbroken to see what had been done by these absolute scumbags.

"In 2018, I started organising the annual parades in Prestwich with a group of other residents from all walks of life, and they could not have been more upset.

"Whoever did it struck on Saturday evening right, before Sunday, as if they wanted to make sure that I wouldn't get chance to fix it.

"We don't ask for much, you don't have to take part in the parade, or even show up and watch on the day, but showing wilful disrespect like this is disgraceful."

The statue has now been taken down and members of the group are examining CCTV footage to see if they can catch the culprits.

Tom added: "We've never had any issues like this before in the area, in all of the previous parades we have organised, and I really hope this doesn't set a precedent for next year."

Tom Gribben, landlord of the Church Inn pub, chairman of Prestwich Remembers and a former Gunner in the Royal Artillery, added: "I was disgusted by this and I hope that whoever did it is proud of themselves because they have alienated an entire neighbourhood.

"Now is the time when we come together to honour the fallen and I have noticed disrespectful acts like this throughout the country, with people urinating on cenotaphs and vandalising them.

"The people that do these sorts of things need to realise that if the two world wars had gone the other way, they would not have the freedoms that they take for granted today."

Prestwich Remembers is a non-profit community group of volunteers, including local police, scout leaders and business owners, which was formed after the closure of the Prestwich British Legion in 2018 to decorate the area with poppies, statues, and symbols to ensure the area's local parade could continue.