Loving son’s dismay over wanton vandalism of grave

Rob Hill with his father James.
Rob Hill with his father James.

A grieving son has spoken of his shock and dismay after wanton vandals desecrated his father’s grave just weeks after he was laid to rest.

James Hill died in May at the age of 97 from blood poisoning in hospital after earlier suffering a fall at his home in Harden Place in Hawick.

Rob Hill has since tidied up the damage to his father's grave.

Rob Hill has since tidied up the damage to his father's grave.

Mr Hill was buried in the town’s Wilton Cemetery beside his late wife Christina, who had died in 2006 at the age of 80.

As a way of paying tribute to his parents, the couple’s son Rob Hill decided earlier this month to create a loving tribute around the headstone.

He took two days to fence off and put gravel around the memorial, planting flowers and placing ornaments inside it.

However, when he returned to the graveside last week he was horrified to find plants and flowers uprooted and flung about the memorial, and ornaments broken and discarded close by.

Rob, who was his father’s carer for the last decade of his life, has described those responsible as ‘scum’ but has decided not to report the matter to the police because he has no faith in any action being taken.

He said: “My dad’s friend’s late wife has a wee plot in the cemetery and her family put a garden fence around it and I thought I’d do the same thing.

“I bought some little fencing and made a little square around it, gravelled it all, and put some little plants in and some ornaments from home, with some flowers just to make it look nice.

“I did that three weeks ago and when I went back up to the cemetery it had all been trampled through and the little plants, some of them artificial and some of them real, had been taken out of the little square and all just dotted around the grassed area about his gravestone

“It was evident that folk had been trampling on the grave because some of the little ornaments had been broken and the gravel had been moved.

“Fortunately, nothing had been actually stolen. It was just wanton vandalism, everything was just lying about, so I was able to retrieve it all and get it back to the way was. But that was beside the point, it was just devilment. The plot where my dad is close to the gate, the footpath runs from Teviotdale Leisure Centre through the Burnfoot estate and is just about 10 yards from the gate, so it’s possible it was kids just getting in there. It is very upsetting.”

Rob, who now lives in his dad’s former home, added: “My father passed away in May after suffering a wee fall in the house and broke his hip. He was operated on and it was kind of looking good, but during the recovery period the wound became infected and he died three weeks later from poison from the wound.

“I just wanted to make the grave look nice as a tribute to him and my late him mum and then these scum do this.”

After posting his story on social media, Rob received dozens of messages of support.

Roz Armstrong posted: “Scummy idiots with no respect whatsoever. If that is their idea of fun their parenting skills will obviously be non-existent – let’s hope they cannot breed. How needlessly hurtful and saddening for you.”

Dee Laidlaw added: “We live in a horrible society, unfortunately.”