Vandalised Ballycarry grave tribute to be returned

The motorbike plaque which was stolen from Terence McIlwaine's grave. INLT-27-702-con
The motorbike plaque which was stolen from Terence McIlwaine's grave. INLT-27-702-con

A grieving family are to be reunited with a unique memorial plaque which was ripped from the headstone of their late brother’s grave.

Carrick resident Elaine McIlwaine and her family originally beleived that the plaque had been stolen from Ballycarry new cemetery when they visited the grave on Sunday June 26.

However, a family friend has since discovered that the heartless vandals simply tossed the plaque to the side after prising it from her late brother Terence (Terry) McIlwaine’s grave.

“Our family friend found the plaque covered in muck in the long grass,” Elaine told the Times.

“He took it home and cleaned it up but unfortunately we won’t be able to put it back on the grave as they have broken the plastic bracket which held it in place.

“I have no idea why they would do something like that, it makes no sense to destroy it.”

Elaine says that the incident was even more traumatic for the family as it occurred near the second anniversary of their brother’s death.

“Terence was a real motorbike fan, he had owned a vintage Triumph Bonneville Classic and when he died we had a photo of the bike made into this ceramic plaque,” she explained.

“We thought it was a lovely last tribute to our brother.

“But when we got to the grave that day it was gone.

“We couldn’t get over the fact that someone would stoop so low.”

Elaine says that Terence was a keen member of the motorcycling fraternity.

“Terence wouldn’t have wanted flowers, he was a biker and there were a lot of them at his funeral in 2014,” she continued.

“Terence was a joiner by trade, but he should have been a motorbike mechanic as he could take a bike apart and put it back together.

“We won’t be putting the ceramic plaque back on the grave, but we will put some sort of motorbike tribute on it.

“I dont know why someone would cause so much heartache for no reason.”

To contact police with information on the incident, telephone 101.