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Lee Welsh: Grieving Dundee parents distraught as items go missing from memorial bench

A plaque is dedicated to Lee Welsh's memory on a bench at Magdalen Green in Dundee.
A plaque is dedicated to Lee Welsh's memory on a bench at Magdalen Green in Dundee.

The parents of a Dundee man who took his own life say they are distraught after discovering his memorial bench has been tampered with.

Lee Welsh died in 2017 at the age of 27, having suffered from mental health issues.

Dad Phil Welsh and mum Lesley Nicoll have since campaigned for better support for those who are struggling in the city.

Now the pair say flower pots that had been placed at a bench carrying Lee’s name at Magdalen Green have been removed.

The memorial bench before the pots were removed.

Phil, who helped set up the Not in Vain for Lee campaign in the wake of his son’s passing, said: “Lesley and I requested a plaque on a bench at Magdalen shortly after Lee’s death.

“Once the plaque was in place we attached two black flower pots to a leg each side.

“One was marked dear brother and the other dear son. We regularly put fresh flowers in these. This has been a thing since his death.

“We often walk the dogs down the green and sit for a few minutes on the bench just reflecting.

Phil with a picture of his son Lee.

“The pots enhanced the bench, as did other items on other benches throughout the green.

“When I run or cycle I often pass and stop for a few minutes. Lesley regularly replaces flowers and sits for a while contemplating our boy.

“These gestures and moments alone offer us some solace, so you could imagine our sentiment when we arrived at the bench last Thursday to discover our items – along with various other items on other benches – had been removed.”

‘I can’t understand why anyone would do this’

Phil initially assumed that Dundee City Council had removed the pots but found out that is not the case.

He added: “I can’t understand why anyone would want to do this.

“I would like to think that this wasn’t done in malice, especially at this time of year.

“We have placed some Christmas-type items on the bench, hopefully some of the spirit of the season will rub off on whoever removed the pots and they will leave these small tokens from a constantly grieving mum and dad alone.”

The bench has been decorated for Christmas.

West End councillor Fraser Macpherson says he has looked into the case on Phil’s behalf.

He said: “I have chased this up with area officers and they are not aware of this being uplifted.

“Should we ever have to remove anything the staff would have informed the area officer who, in turn, would contact the family.

Hope items will be returned

“I appreciate memorials, at this time of year especially, are difficult for families and although we did not remove these items, families are informed when the bench or plaque is installed not to put out any memorabilia or decorate benches in public parks.

“I hope the family’s pots and ornaments are returned to them soon.”

A spokesman for Dundee City Council said: “We’ve looked into the issue and our staff weren’t involved.”

Dundee’s mental health crisis centre may not be ready until March 2022

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