Dunmow listening bench is vandalised

Listening Bench

Listening Bench - Credit: Archant

The listening bench in Dunmow Market Square has now been repaired after being vandalised last week.

The bench is somewhere people can sit and hear memories of the town. Currently, it is playing scenes from Dunmow Flitch Trials from years ago. It was found damaged on Wednesday, December 7.

It is believed that overnight, someone tried to push the wooden bench forward, which broke a strut in one of the legs. A similar attack was made on a metal bench in the square.

Town clerk, Caroline Fuller said: “We think it happened overnight and someone tried to rock it back on its legs. They got hold of the back and pushed so the bench broke. It was fixed on Monday by our handyman. We put red and white hazard tape on it meanwhile so no one would sit on it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t repaired in time for the Christmas Market on Sunday.

“It’s disappointing because the bench has not been there very long (it was put up in the summer). It was donated by Essex County Council and it’s been well listened to. People like hearing the tapes.

Dunmow Flitch Trials are held every leap year. This year’s were on July 9. Couples go on “trial” in a pantomime style pageant to convince a jury of bachelors and maidens that they are happily married. If they succeed, they win a flitch (or a side) of bacon donated by butchers in the town. The tradition goes back to medieval times.

Police have been notified of the damage to the bench.