A New Barnet man is taking a defiant stance after his neighbours demanded he remove a bench he erected in memory of his late wife.

Jim Wilson, 72, of Shaftesbury Avenue, is furious at the lack of compassion shown by three of his neighbours who claim the bench is attracting gangs of youths.

Mr Wilson decided to buy the bench after his wife Lucille Carol died last August and thought it would be a fitting tribute to her. He said: "My wife wanted to be cremated and because there was no plot in a cemetery I thought I would spend the money left over from the funeral on a bench together with a flowering cherry tree.

"Now three of my neighbours say they want the bench moved because it's attracting youths. Well the youths were there before the bench was put up and they're making a mountain out of a mole hill."

The memorial has been on the green in Shaftesbury Avenue since September. Mr Wilson added that he was told he did not need planning permission for it and that he cannot afford the £1,000 it would cost to remove it.

June 21, 2002 13:30