A MEMORIAL bench dedicated to a Peeblesshire man who devoted his life to the Forestry Commission has been damaged by vandals.

Family of the late Johnny Simpson were heartbroken when they arrived at Glentress to find that their father’s memorial plaque had been ripped off the bench by thoughtless thugs.

Mr Simpson, who passed away in October 1999 at the age of 51 years old and lived in Walkerburn, served for 36 years at Glentress Forest and is thought to have constructed some of the first forestry trails.

As well as the horror of finding the plaque ripped off, the bench was also covered in graffiti.

The scenic woodland spot was the perfect place for the family to remember the well-loved community figure, a place where Garry Simpson would take his children to share memories of the grandfather they never got the chance to meet.

Speaking to the Peeblesshire News this week, Garry said: “My dad worked for the Forestry Commission for 36 years, he was a hardworking man who loved his job and the people he worked with. He probably worked on some of the original trails at Glentress.

“The bench is in an amazing spot with great views. I was shocked and hurt to see the plaque missing from the bench and all marked. My dad devoted his life to his family and the forestry around us.

“I often take my children up there and chat about my Dad, they never met him so it’s an important place for me to remember him.”

Garry is now in the process of restoring the bench and having a new plaque made and is living in hope that vandals don’t repeat their mindless actions which deeply hurt his family.