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"Heartwarming" gesture as public lay wreaths

Tuesday 12 May 2020

"Heartwarming" gesture as public lay wreaths

The Bailiff's first duty in his new role was to replace a destroyed Liberation Day wreath, as he condemned the alleged vandal's "appalling" behaviour and praised other members of the public for laying flowers of their own.

The Liberation Day wreath laid at the War Memorial by the outgoing Bailiff Sir Richard Collas was damaged beyond repair over the weekend. A 19-year-old has since been arrested by Guernsey Police.

In his inaugural speech as Guernsey's 90th Bailiff, Mr McMahon echoed comments made by Guernsey Police at the weekend by branding it a "despicable and disrespectful" act. 

Speaking after his swearing in ceremony, he said it was a sad way to start his tenure. 

New Wreath War Memorial

Pictured: The replacement wreath that was created by Brouards florist at short notice. 

"It is something I wish I didn’t have to do. The wreath that Sir Richard laid should have been left there as a mark of respect for all to see, physically and remotely."

That someone had decided to smash up that wreath - a dedication to veterans who fought for their nation and lost their lives - was "appalling and almost beyond belief".

What has shone through is a prevailing community spirit, he said, with dozens of bunches of flowers left at the memorial since news about the original wreath spread. 

Richard McMahon Wreath Laying War Memorial

Pictured: The newly instated Bailiff Richard McMahon laying a wreath at the War Memorial. 

Mr McMahon described the reaction as "heartwarming", drawing parallels to the solidarity and respect shown by islanders when Princess Diana died in 1997.

"I thought it was really touching that people thought the War Memorial should be appropriately decked out and that people have taken the initiative to come and lay flowers.

"[The memorial] is a focal point for those who fought so valiantly and lost their lives."

Mr McMahon has stepped up from his previous role as Deputy Bailiff, replacing Sir Richard Collas, who retired from the position after eight years but will now serve as a Lieutenant Bailiff for continuity and resilience purposes. 

Jessica Roland will be sworn in as Deputy Bailiff tomorrow.

Pictured top: The Bailiff laying the replacement wreath, provided by Brouards. 


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