Residents rally around cemetery after vandals cause over $150,000 in damages
Less than a month after vandals tore through the Glenwood Cemetery in Picton, locals are reaching out to prop the gravestones back up again.
On June 20, vandals, still unknown to the police, knocked down over 100 gravestones in the 145-year-old cemetery.
“It’s way more than they just tipped over a few gravestones, this was vandalism at it’s worst,” said Sandra Latchford, the chair of the Glenwood Cemetery Company.
The estimate of the damages is now over $150,000, and Latchford says that is a conservative estimate.
Since Glenwood Cemetery is a not-for-profit, the costs of the repairs will fall to the families of the deceased whose monuments were damaged.
Helen Wells and her husband Sid live in Prince Edward County. They decided to throw a concert to help raise money for families who can’t afford the repairs, or for the gravestones whose family members are no longer alive since some of the older monuments were erected in the 1800s.
It’s Helen’s memories of the cemetery, which she has been visiting since she was in high school, that prompted her and her husband to organize a fundraiser at Picton’s Regent Theatre, with a dozen acts set up for the day of July 22.
“I used to find this place so beautiful and peaceful and I would come down on my breaks,” said Helen.
Sid said the interest from artists from all over Prince Edward County wanting to donate their time was overwhelming — they even needed to turn down some performers because of time constraints.
“It’s been a tremendous outpouring of support,” Sid said.
The Prince Edward County OPP have not announced any updates about who destroyed the monuments, and said the investigation is still ongoing.
Latchford says she’s hoping someone will come forward, since the incident happened between 3 and 7 p.m. on a Wednesday evening, a time she said families usually take walks through the 63-acre cemetery.
For now, she and her team are still dealing with the cleanup, adding that they have now spent 50 hours chronicling the extent of the damage.
“They’ve smashed things that are not repairable,” said Latchford. “They had taken parts and thrown them into the marsh creek.”
According to her estimates, it may take years to get the cemetery back to the way it was before June 20.
“We’re going to make a plan and if it’s going to take two or three years, so be it, but we’re going to set the plan and we’re going to move forward.”
Despite the task ahead, Latchford said responses like those from the Wells have made the aftermath of the vandalism less daunting.
“The outreach of the public has been so generous … it’s helped lift our spirits and give us the energy to take on this task.”
The tickets will be on sale for $20 at the Regent Theatre in the upcoming week.
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