A north woman will cycle 250 miles in south-east Asia this month to raise cash for up to nine new “vandal-proof” memorial benches in her local town – one of which will be dedicated to her sister.
Kiera Scott will be among 30 people participating in the 10-day challenge from Vietnam to Cambodia on November 19, which will involve cycling for six days and exploring for four.
Funds raised from her efforts will help pay to replace her sister Marni’s memorial bench, in Tain’s Rose Garden, after it was destroyed by vandals in the summer. Her sister’s bench is one of nine structures in Rose Garden.
Marni Scott died in a car accident in August 2008 when she was aged just 19. Her car struck a tree on the roadside of the B9165, the main road from Fearn to the A9.
Miss Scott is now in the process of writing a letter to all of the families who have memorial benches in the garden, asking if they would like to have their benches replaced.
The replacement benches look very similar to wooden models but have a 25-year lifespan, are graffiti resistant and very difficult to burn or break, and cost about £650 each.
Miss Scott said that she had been on the phone to her father when walking through the gardens in August when she noticed her sister’s bench had disappeared. Another memorial bench in the gardens had also been completely destroyed.
The 24-year-old contacted Tain Task Force, a voluntary group who look after the garden, who told her that the bench had been taken away for repairs and that they had recently been having issues with vandalism.
Miss Scott, who lives between Kildary and Arabella, said: “It was so disheartening when I discovered what had happened to my sister’s bench. These benches are there for the families and friends to go there and remember them. It’s a special place. I was holding my heart at the time and it was very upsetting, especially when I saw the other bench broken up and lying in a heap. It was someone’s loved one’s bench.
“I think the vandalism is an ongoing issue there. It might seem like a bit of fun to some people but they need to realise that it’s affecting other people.”
Anyone wanting to donate can visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/kiera-scott?utm_id=108&utm_term=QdVz9QxW6