ADRIAN Cash wants a lovingly made tribute to his son Paddy to remain in the woods close to the spot where his boy suffered a fatal crash.
Paddy Cash died aged just 17 in April after losing control of his scrambler bike in Denham Country Park and colliding with a tree.
His father Adrian, of Truesdale Drive, Harefield, said Hillingdon Council first wrote to the family asking them to remove a memorial, just one day before Paddy’s funeral.
The letter said Denham Country Park, accessible from Moorhall Road, Harefield, is an ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’.
Roofer Adrian Cash said: “Paddy was the youngest of six siblings, leaving behind two brothers and three sisters. When he had his accident on April 22 (Good Friday), all this friends went down to put flowers there, as normal people do. It was just a makeshift tribute, out of respect.”
Jean Palmer, council deputy chief executive, said: “We know that this is a very difficult time for Paddy’s family and are very sorry for their loss. In memory of Paddy, we will be working with his family to have a memorial bench in his name.”
Mr Cash said: “The council sent us a letter on the May 12, one day before his funeral, asking us to remove everything. That was incredibly distressing for the whole family to get such a letter at a time like that. They have continued writing us letters and said they will be down to remove it this week.
“When the flowers died I went down and removed them all, there is no litter there. They say it’s a shrine; it’s not – it’s a marker, a memorial, a piece of decking about 30 inches wide and six inches high with a place for flowers.
“It’s just a piece of wood and our memories. There’s no rubbish, we keep it nice and clean, we probably take more care of the area than anyone else.
“This is my son, and this is my only memory. He is not buried, he is cremated, and this is the spot he died and it’s where I need to go. I think I’m entitled to that.
“I am tearing up getting emotional just thinking about it. If the council remove it, I will go down there and put a new one the very next day, and the next day, and the day after that.”
Hillingdon Council had originally told Mr Cash the memorial would be removed yesterday (Tuesday), but after the Gazette stepped in, it said there were no plans to remove it this week.
Instead, it has offered to work with the family to provide a memorial bench.
Paddy’s father added: “Anyone who has lost a loved one will know what I am going through. Look at the flowers put down for Amy Winehouse and Princess Diana. I am not asking for that, I am asking for just a small piece of decking.
“Where people have died along Harvil Road there are flowers and markers still there, what is the difference?”
He added that the council’s stance over the area of outstanding natural beauty did not make sense in light of the fact there is an unsightly portable building close to the memorial.
“How is nothing done about that, yet they are being so heavy-handed over the memorial?,” he asked.
Now Paddy’s friends are clubbing together to raise money for the bench to be placed at Moorhall Recreation Ground, Harefield, in his memory.
Mr Cash said: “The bench should be here soon, but that’s his friends doing, it’s nothing to do with me.
“The place where he died is incredibly important and I need to be able to grieve there. To be honest, we could do with a bench there too.”