NW200 rider's widow in plea for return of plaque stolen from his grave
The widow of a North West 200 veteran rider has spoken of her heartbreak after a plaque in memory of her husband was stolen from his grave.
Jim Scott, who won two major local racing titles during the 1970s, passed away two years ago at the age of 77.
His wife Maureen (75) paid tribute to his passion for motorbikes with a bespoke marble plaque placed on his final resting place in Ballyrashane Parish Church graveyard, Co Antrim.
After returning from an Easter break in England with her family, Maureen was shocked when she went to her husband's grave and the plaque wasn't there.
The Ballyrashane grandmother searched all around the cemetery hoping to find it, but to no avail.
She fears it has been deliberately stolen.
"I had this plaque made especially for Jim," she explained.
"It is of him on his motorbike in 1977 when he won the Ulster and Irish Championship.
"Jim loved motorbikes so much, so I actually wanted this on his headstone, but that wasn't possible.
"I had the plaque made instead."
Maureen said the theft had left her devastated, and appealed to the public for help in getting the plaque - which she described as "priceless and irreplaceable" to her - returned.
"I don't think it was children because it is quite heavy so I think it may have been someone who thought they might be able to sell it on," she added.
"I would like to appeal to anyone who might be offered this plaque to call the police because the person offering it is not the rightful owner.
"I cannot understand why anyone would remove something from a grave and I am devastated, but I am hoping every day it will turn up."
The North West 200, which is being staged this weekend, was an unmissable event for Jim, explained Maureen.
"I have come these past two years on my own because I know how much Jim loved it," she said.
She added that while she had been greatly touched by an offer from the "incredible" motorcycling fraternity to pay for a replacement, she just wants the stolen plaque back.
"People have been so kind, but the original one means the world to me and it can never be replaced," she said.