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Norwich memorial badly damaged in attack

PUBLISHED: 16:54 11 May 2011 | UPDATED: 08:01 12 May 2011

Vicky Manthorpe of the Norwich Society with the damaged memorial to Ralph Hale Mottram.

Vicky Manthorpe of the Norwich Society with the damaged memorial to Ralph Hale Mottram.

Archant © 2011

A memorial which marks one of the best-loved views in Norwich has been badly damaged and police have launched an appeal for help in catching the culprits.

The RH Mottram memorial, which is at the crest of St James’ Hill on Mousehold Heath was badly damaged in a recent attack.

A bronze dedication plaque was stolen and a large chunk of the memorial’s granite was chipped away, to the horror of civic watchdog The Norwich Society.

The memorial, to Ralph Hale Mottram, sits in front of a stunning view of Noriwch and features a panoramic plaque outlining key points on the city’s skyline.

RH Mottram, who lived from 1883-1971, was a Norwich writer and was a secretary of the Norwich Society.

He was a former Lord Mayor of Norwich, but is best remembered for his Spanish Farm Trilogy books, published in 1927 and based on his First World War experiences in France and Flanders.

The books were adapted into a film called The Roses of Picardy.

He once said that Mousehold Heath was “the property of those who have the privilege of Norwich birth” and is buried at Rosary Cemetery, off Rosary Road.

The Mousehold Heath memorial, which dates back to the mid 1970s, was designed by David Holgate and features a panoramic plaque outlining key buildings on the Norwich skyline.

Vicky Manthorpe, from the Norwich Society, said: “It’s very sad that somebody should do this. They have had a real go at it. Not only have they taken away the dedication plaque, but they have chipped away some of the granite, so you can see the metal rods underneath.”

The damage has been reported to Norfolk police, who appealed for help in catching the people behind the crime.

A spokeswoman for Norfolk Constabulary said the crime had happened between 10am on Wednesday, May 4 and 10.30am on Monday,

She said the police would like to hear from anyone who uses the area, including dog walkers, who could hold vital information about the criminals responsible.

Amy Lyall, spokeswoman for Norwich City Council, said: “It is disappointing that some people feel the need to spoil the city for everyone else by vandalising property. Repairs cost the city a significant amount each year which could be spent elsewhere.

“We will be investigating how best to repair this important landmark so it can continue to be enjoyed by the people of Norwich.

”We would like to encourage anyone who sees vandalism being carried out to call either the council or the police so that the case can be fully investigated. Please, for your own safety, do not approach anyone you see offending.”

Anyone with information about the attack on the memorial should call Norfolk police’s Heartsease and Thorpe Hamlet safer neighbourhood team on 0845 4564567.

• Do you have a crime story? Call Evening News reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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