A MEMORIAL bench for a young Greenock teacher has been replaced following a shocking act of vandalism.

Clare McCurdy tragically passed away last year at the age of just 31 and the much-loved primary school teacher’s colleagues raised money to place a bench in her memory at her favourite beauty spot in Lunderston Bay.

But Clare’s family and friends were recently left distraught when they discovered that the bench, installed just a few months ago, had been wrecked by teenagers during a weekend rampage.

After the Tele reported on the act of vandalism and police investigation appeal, staff at Cardwell Garden Centre immediately stepped in to help.

In a touching act of kindness and compassion, they offered to replace the bench free of charge.

Clare’s mum Theresa, 51, who lives in Cathie Allan Place, and her sister Lauren, 25, say they are overwhelmed by the kind act.

Theresa said: “This is an amazing gesture by Cardwell and we can’t thank them enough. 

“After what happened, this has restored my faith in human nature.

“To see the bench back in its place has made the family so happy after how shocked we were.”

Lauren added: “It’s fantastic that the people at Cardwell would be kind enough to replace the bench and we’ll still be able to visit Lunderston Bay and remember Clare.”

Clare, remembered as a ‘fabulous and gorgeous girl’, worked as a teacher at a primary school in Renfrew and her colleagues raised money for the bench in her memory.

It was smashed up by yobs who tried to burn part of it for a campfire as part of an overnight 18th birthday ‘celebration’ sometime on Sunday July 2 and into Monday.

Paul Carmichael, who is the retail general manager at Cardwell, said he was determined to help after reading about the family’s plight.

He said: “It’s so unbelievably sad that anyone would even think of destroying a bench in memory of someone who has passed away.

“When we heard what had happened, we didn’t hesitate to offer to replace the bench with an identical one.

“We hope we’ve gone some way to help the family get over this despicable act of vandalism to their late daughter’s bench. 

“We knew how much the bench meant to the family and their friends.”

The new bench was installed by John MacLean and Michael Corrigan, countryside rangers at Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park.

Clare’s family now hope that someone will turn in the mindless vandals who wrecked it.

Lauren added: “We still really want them found.”