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Children's memorial garden is targeted by vandals... and insensitive wedding party

By Nevin Farrell

Published 16/09/2015

John McGarvey and Andrea McAleese, who have both lost children, with stars in memory of the young Turkey drowning victims at the Angel of Hope Garden
John McGarvey and Andrea McAleese, who have both lost children, with stars in memory of the young Turkey drowning victims at the Angel of Hope Garden
Aylan Kurdi holding his son's body

A memorial garden for children, where a poignant tribute to the little brothers washed up on a Turkish beach was recently erected, has been vandalised by heartless thugs.

Families of deceased children have hit out after their sacred space, which was officially opened just over two weeks ago, was targeted.

Trees were uprooted in the Angel of Hope Garden in Coleraine, where loved ones go to reflect and remember their lost children.

The culprits defaced a commemorative bench, while drunks have also swooped on the garden.

And there was more upset when a wedding party used the garden for photographs, and posed on top of a tribute to premature babies.

John McGarvey (51) from Castlerock is involved with the garden.

His daughter Kelly McGarvey (30), who tragically died at Downhill on the north coast in 2014, is one of those remembered.

Last week Aylan Kurdi, the Kurdish boy photographed lying dead on a Turkish beach after fleeing the Syrian conflict, and his brother Galip had a permanent memorial in their honour erected in the garden.

Officials were so touched by the deaths of three-year-old Aylan and his brother Galip (5) they have put up special stars containing their names to ensure their memory will live on.

John said: "We have replanted the trees and wiped off the writing on the chair. We were disappointed what happened because the garden was only recently opened.

"CCTV has been connected now and police have been contacted and they are driving past regularly to check on the garden.

"Hopefully this will bring it to an end."

The Angel of Hope Garden was specially built as a place where parents who have lost children can go to remember their loved ones.

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