A WRITER has started an appeal to restore a vandalised memorial bench in Chobham that has helped him cope with the rigours of his work and caring for his mother, who suffers with dementia.

Shaun Deeney was shocked to find that the wooden seat, around a tree on Burrow Hill Green, had been damaged and removed when he arrived to use it for an inspirational break.

He has started an online appeal to raise money to restore the bench, which was opposite the Four Horseshoes pub.

Shaun, who lives in Windlesham, said: “Writing is an odd mix of inspiration and dogged persistence. Bright ideas don't come easily, and there often are thorny issues to resolve.

“Besides the bricklaying of sitting down every day and putting pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard, there's a lot of thinking to do. For me, the place to review whether the words I'd laboured on for five or six hours were any good, or not, was a circular bench underneath a beech tree on Burrow Hill Green.”

He added that each day after writing, and before picking up his care responsibilities for his mum, he would cycle to the bench to site and meditate on what he had written.

“The bench became my place of meditation, a special place for me. Sadly, it was broken apart by some careless folk who didn't value the bench or what it represented.”

The bench was installed around a tree planted in memory of a much-respected Chobham councillor and village fireman, Arthur Hunt. It is dedicated to a Nigel Lassen, who was born in 1946 and died at the age of 58.

The damaged bench was removed by staff from Surrey County Council’s countryside department, who are keeping it safe at their local office.

Shaun has so far raised £140 on a JustGiving page. He has asked Chobham Parish Council chairman Les Coombs if he and other councillors can help with the restoration and has contacted the manufacturer for advice.

“It shouldn't be hugely expensive, but every little bit helps,” he said. “If there's money over, I thought we might ask the parish council how best to spend it, perhaps on something else for people like me, who like to sit and stare.”

To contribute to the appeal, visit www.justgiving.com and search for Shaun Deeney in the crowdfunding section.

[BLOB] Did you know Nigel Lassen? If so, contact the News & Mail – phone 01483 375793, email [email protected].