‘Persistent’ grass blamed after bench honouring fallen Elm Park soldier completely covered by weeds

PUBLISHED: 13:00 19 August 2016 | UPDATED: 13:00 19 August 2016

Left, Ian Fisher's sons on the portrait bench. Right, the bench last week, hidden by weeds.

Left, Ian Fisher's sons on the portrait bench. Right, the bench last week, hidden by weeds.

Helen Fisher

The “persistent growth” of plants has been blamed after a bench honouring the achievement of a soldier who died serving his country became completely hidden by tall weeds.

Havering and Barking and Dagenham councils installed a portrait bench, which features a sculpture of Elm Park warrant officer Ian Fisher, in Beam Valley Country Park, Dagenham, in October last year.

But when Helen Fisher, Ian’s mum, went to visit the bench with her husband and daughter, she was shocked by what she saw.

“The bench was completely smothered in weeds – it was an absolute horror,” she told the Recorder.

“If you didn’t already know about the bench, then you wouldn’t even know it was there behind the weeds.

“What was the point in making a big deal of installing the bench if they weren’t going to take care of it?

Dad-of-two Ian was killed in 2013 while serving in Afghanistan.

“It is heartbreaking that it has been left to deteriorate and treated with such disrespect,” said Helen.

The bench, which also features folk singer Billy Bragg and Ford sewing machinists, was installed by charity Sustrans, which delivered the GLA-funded project as part of a country-wide initiative.

As the bench is in Beam Valley Country Park, the responsibility for maintaining it falls under Barking and Dagenham Council.

A council spokesman said: “We would like to apologise to Mrs Fisher for any distress caused. We are now in the process of ensuring the area is tidy and accessible to all.

“Furthermore, the recent weather we have experienced has caused an increase of persistent growth in grass and plant life across the borough.”

The bordering councils also installed a walking and cycling path over the River Beam, bridging Breton’s Outdoor Centre in Rainham and Beam Valley.

Latest Romford News Stories


A police cordon and crime scene remain in place this morning.

We all know that London is experiencing a violence epidemic, with knife crime up by 50 per cent since September 2015.

Yesterday, 15:00

When the fighting ended in November 1918, Havering’s prisoners of war came home. As Prof Ged Martin reports, many had suffered a hard time

Yesterday, 10:00

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our Met Office video forecast.

Yesterday, 08:00

In recent weeks we have brought you the stories of families who have found a lifeline in Hornchurch charity First Step.

Yesterday, 08:00

I like science fiction. I grew up wearing glasses so I didn’t have much say in the matter.

Fri, 16:54

A former Bomber Command rear gunner who lied about his age so he could join the RAF during the Second World War died in Romford last week.


From November, The Mercury in Romford begins to celebrate Christmas. The mall has plenty of gift ideas, fun events and activities for everyone

Vauxhall has completed its sport utility vehicle range with the third, and largest, Grandland X. We put the SUV, now available at Tony LeVoi in Romford, to the test.

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining,” so the saying goes. So if some warm weather is making your conservatory uninhabitable, think about replacing its roof with a flat one and adding a roof lantern instead.

Newsletter Sign Up

Romford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

News from your area


A Romford photographer impressed the judges of a national creative photography competition with a picture of a stunning sunset.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now