Thieves target tribute to Whaplode councillor

Coun Mike Pullen, John Welch, John Hayes MP and Ruby Pullen next to the memorial to late parish councillor Alec Welch where two hanging baskets were reportedly stolen from.  Photo (TIM WILSON): SG290815-300tTW.
Coun Mike Pullen, John Welch, John Hayes MP and Ruby Pullen next to the memorial to late parish councillor Alec Welch where two hanging baskets were reportedly stolen from. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG290815-300tTW.
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The theft of items from a memorial dedicated to a “genuine and approachable” Whaplode parish councillor has been branded a “desecration”.

Two hanging baskets were stolen from a memorial to the late Alec Welch (67) outside Whaplode Village Hall between Friday and Saturday, August 21 and 22.

Mr Welch, who died in October 2010, was a parish councillor for 25 years and campaigned for a 30mph speed limit on the A151 through the village.

Surviving brother John Welch said: “Alec did a lot for the village so a memorial was put up on the village green at least three years ago which is maintained by local people. But when someone went out to water the hanging baskets last Saturday before the flower festival starts, they had gone.”

A £500 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves. Whaplode parish and district councillor Mike Pullen said: “I fully expected the memorial to last a long while and it hadn’t been touched before, so I believe this is a desecration of the memory of Alec Welch.”

At the time of Mr Welch’s death, parish council colleague Bob Merchant said: “Alec was a genuine and approachable person who was very passionate about Whaplode.”

Anyone with information should call 101, quoting incident number 153 of August 23.