80 tombstones vandalized
Charity concert planned to repair 80 plus vandalized tombstones
Buckingham’s St Stephen’s Anglican church is planning a concert to get some of its 80 plus vandalized tombstones patched, treated and off the ground.
According to John Carson, the church’s steward, 84 tombstones, many over 100 years old were tipped over and severely cracked in the night of Friday the 25th of October.
“I received the call Saturday morning from someone who was taking a walk around, called the police and haven’t heard anything back yet. While they’re doing what they can, I’m moving forwards and trying to raise some money to get some these stones off the ground. Many of them being over 100 years old, there’s no family to take care of them, so we’re trying to do our best”, said Mr Carson to the Bulletin.
Agent Renée Anne St-Amant of the Gatineau Police has assured the newsroom that files pertaining to the case have been transferred to police force investigators and that no further developments have been made as yet.
According to Mr Carson, three separate companies have evaluated the cost of replacing all of the gravestones at around $85,000 and $100,000, forcing the church to opt for the more affordable patchwork repairs.
“The cemetery is strapped for cash, so we’re hoping to raise around $15,000 to pay for all of the repairs and get these gravestones off the ground. The Cemetery Committee members felt that, out of respect for history and our belief, we had to move forward with the repairs. The safest and least costly way would be to hire a professional company to do all repairs at once and immediately to ensure that no additional damage is done to the stones over the winter,” explained the church steward.
The Christmas Cemetery Fundraiser Concert will be held on Sunday, December 1st in the St. Stephen’s Church Hall, 45 Chemin Donaldson, at 2 pm. Lyoness Woodstock and Gospel Matters Band will be present singing Christmas and Gospel Music with the attendees.
When asked by the Bulletin how the concert came to be, Mr Woodstock stated, “I saw the church’s Facebook post after the incident, so I reached out to Mr Carson and offered to help in whatever way I could. St Stephen’s is one of the churches in the Pontiac that I’m close with, and the band and I are going to try and entertain some folk and, hopefully, raise some money to cover the cost.”
Woodstock describes his music and the band as “a combination of Merle Haggard, George Jones and Johnny Cash singing faith-based music.”
Anyone can attend the concert for free and donations will be made on an individual basis to encourage people to give what they can.
A GoFundMe campaign has also been set up by friends of the church to aid in repair efforts. Those who wish to donate can do so online at gofundme.com/f/st-stephens-cemetery-buckingham. At the time of writing on November 4, the campaign has managed to raise $700 toward its ultimate goal of $ 33,000.
The Church will also be gathering donations by mail at 2 Baie Teske, L’Ange Gardien, Québec, J8L 0H1.