‘Disgusting’ Vandals target Ricky Gervais’ After Life bench after being donated to a park

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The wooden bench was donated to the Arboretum in Nottingham for anyone who has been bereaved or struggling with their mental health. Netflix donated 25 benches to sites across the UK with two in the city.

Images show the bench in pieces with planks piled up and a plaque with the message “Hope is Everything” on top.

Locals visiting the park on Sunday, May 22, expressed disbelief at what happened.

Vivian O’Boyle, 69, who lives in Highbury Vale, told Nottinghamshire Live: “My husband has just died, three weeks ago.

“I wanted to maybe donate a bench near here as we used to come and sit here every morning pretty much.

“I knew about the bench. I think it’s disgusting, totally disgusting.

“I wonder what goes through people’s heads, honestly. What is the need to do that? I think in some ways you have got to pity these people.

“You don’t know what is going on in their lives and so you shouldn’t make judgements, but it is a horrible thing to do.

“I still come here because I’m still trying to do things I used to do with my husband. I don’t want to try and avoid everything.

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“This is such a lovely, peaceful place. To think we are so close to the city centre is amazing. You can come here and listen to the birds and the church bells. It’s really lovely.”

One couple, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “We don’t come here very often so we weren’t aware of the bench, but it sounds like it was a wonderful idea.

“It’s hard to think why someone would want to do that. It’s very sad.”

Andy Church, 50, said: “I have just seen what is left of it. It’s absolutely despicable. It’s completely mindless.

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“I loved the show when it was on and I used to like seeing people sat on that bench. I really don’t know what the world is coming to.”

Written, produced and starring Ricky Gervais, After Life tells the story of Tony Johnson, a local newspaper reporter whose wife Lisa dies of breast cancer.

The black comedy premiered in 2019 and runs to three seasons.

Tony and Anne, a widow played by Penelope Wilton, sit on a bench similar to that destroyed to discuss their grief in the hit show.

Mr Gervais said after donating the benches: “We hope the benches will create a lasting legacy for After Life, as well as become a place for people to visit.”

A plaque which appears on the wooden seats reads: “This bench is donated by Netflix to commemorate Ricky Gervais.”

When the Arboretum’s bench was unveiled in January, carer Marie Johnson said it was a beautiful reminder of people who have died.

Mrs Johnson added: “I just hope it doesn’t get vandalised or ruined in any way.”

Marking the launch of After Life season three, the benches were backed by suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably.

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