The two stolen benches were discovered hanging from this fence on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. SUPPLIED

Donation made in response to theft of two benches last month

When two rainbow-painted Pride benches were stolen over the weekend of Dec. 11-12, from Peace Park and from near the Meridian Community Centre, both in Fonthill, a good samaritan approached the Voice and asked the newspaper to convey their offer to Pelham Town Hall to pay for replacements.

That was on the Monday. On Wednesday morning, Dec. 15, the benches reappeared, left hanging from fencing near the stormwater management pond at Rice Road and Highway 20.

Ryan Cook, Pelham’s Manager of Public Works, told the Voice that the two benches were undamaged, and within days they had been reinstalled in their original locations.

The good samaritan, however, was still on board, and offered to donate funds sufficient to underwrite a fourth bench. (A third bench is located at the intersection of Pelham St. and Hwy 20.) Advised that the cost, complete with installation, was $2500, the individual mailed a cheque for this amount to the Voice, and the Voice delivered it into the hands of Treasurer Teresa Quinlin-Murphy before Christmas.

“It is always nice when a private citizen comes forward to make a donation to the Town,” Mayor Marvin Junkin said. “This particular donation is even more appreciated as it not only provides a much needed bench for our walking community, but is a shout-out of support to our gay community.”

Pelham CAO David Cribbs said that the new bench was already ordered and would be heading to Fenwick, adding that due to a backlog for this type of bench that delivery wasn’t anticipated until as late as March. Installation is set to occur immediately, weather-permitting, on an existing concrete pad in front of the Maple Acre Library.

Cribbs, who upon the earlier theft had said that, “Hate does not get to triumph in Pelham, Ontario,” welcomed the gesture.

“The Town is thrilled with this generous donation and the accompanying opportunity to celebrate community diversity in Fenwick.”