December 8 2013 Latest news:
By Laurence Cawley
Friday, April 27, 2012
FORMER servicemen living in a dedicated flat complex were left devastated when a thief made off with their flag – which was flying at half mast following the death of a fellow resident.
Founded in the 1950s by the Suffolk Regiment to house former soliders and their kin in their later years, Minden Close in Bury St Edmunds has eight separate flats.
Now run by Haig Homes, the complex is open to people from across the services and outside the main building stands a flag pole proudly flying the Union flag.
Mary Ryan, who lives at Minden Close with her Suffolk Regiment husband Dennis, told how the flag was flying at half-mast when it was stolen following the death of one of the residents.
“We had just lost a neighbour,” said Mrs Ryan. “We fly the flag at half mast when a neighbour passes or when one of our service people dies in Afghanistan. Then in the morning in question I noticed it had gone.”
Asked what she would say to the thief responsible, Mrs Ryan said: “I’d want to know why they did it and what benefit it brought them. Do they realise how upset all of us eight residents were? I was beyond angry for the old boys here.”
After the flag was taken – between April 8 and 9 – police investigated, but the thief is yet to be found.
However, RAF Honington heard about the theft and decided to give its last Union flag to the residents.
The gesture has left Mrs Ryan and the other residents bowled over.
“The flag is beautiful, in fact it is more than beautiful and we are so, so grateful.”
PCSO Gordon Walker, from the Bury Central Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT), was involved in the police investigation following the theft.
“I was very impressed by how quickly the team at RAF Honington responded to the incident,” he said. “I know the residents have been very touched by their generosity.”
The residents intend to reintroduce a morning and evening ceremony so the flag will be kept safe for the future.
Anybody with information about the theft should call Sgt Davy Hill, quoting crime number BU/121021 on 101.