The wood may be old, the brass dull with age, but every bench plaque is a dedication to somebody who was loved. We see them across our villages and towns, these links between the present and past, and yet it’s rare we know anything about the people they commemorate.
So, we took to social media and asked you to tell us the stories behind Tandridge’s bench plaques. Who are the people they pay tribute to, and why has that particular location been chosen for them?
No. 2: Michael Scott, Hurst Green
If you stopped by the parade of shops on Pollards Oak Road, Hurst Green in the 1990s, you might well have passed Michael Scott, sat on the wall, chatting with his friends, and making them laugh.
Mia Hill, Michael’s sister, says:
“Michael had an amazing sense of humour and was truly one of the most kind-hearted people you could ever meet. He would do odd jobs for the elderly and always make sure his female friends got home safely from the youth club they all went to.”
In 1994, when Michael died unexpectedly from an asthma attack, aged 20, his friends wanted to do something to commemorate the life of their friend. They began raising money, and with the help of the local community, were able to purchase a bench with a plaque, in tribute to Michael. It was put up in 1995, outside the shops where he spent so much time.
The plaque reads: ‘In memory of Michael Scott, with love from all his family and friends’.
Michael and his siblings grew up in Hurst Green and, while Mia now lives in Croydon, the others remain in the area. Their sister Nicola and her husband run the Select Convenience store in the row of shops where the bench stands, so Mia always visits Michael when she comes to see her family.
“My children and I always sit there when we come to Hurst Green. They call it Uncle’s bench.”
Do you know the story behind a bench plaque? If so, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch:email@example.com