The Wokingham Paper

Reading Borough Council plans memorial for victims of Forbury Gardens terror attack

Forbury Gardens
Flowers left in tribute to those who died in the Forbury Gardens attack Picture: Phil Creighton

THE leader of Reading Borough Council has stressed the importance of the community standing together in the wake of the terror attack, and pledged to help build a permanent memorial.  

Cllr Jason Brock has written a message expressing his shock over Saturday night’s incident in Forbury Gardens, which saw three people lose their lives and three more injured. 

“Reading is a safe and peaceful town with a long and proud history of good community relations, and it will be more important than ever to stand by these local strengths,” he said. 

“I know that many of you will feel uncertainty, apprehension and anger around what has happened – I feel this way. 

“This makes it all the more important that we stand united.”

He also said that the memorial will be a place for people to pay their respects to James Furlong, Joe Ritchie-Bennett and David Wails who died during the attack. 

“Reading Borough Council shares in the grief of people in our town, and around the world. We will work with the community and the families of the victims to find ways to mark what has happened, and to ensure there is a permanent memorial where people can pay their respects to those who lost their lives, and everyone affected by the tragic events on Saturday. As plans develop over the coming days and weeks we will share those details widely.”

He added: “I would like to reassure you that everything is being done to ensure Reading is as safe as ever, and please do not be put off from living life as you usually would in and around Reading.”

His comments come after a petition was launched to build such a memorial.

Cllr Brock’s statement in full

The events at Forbury Gardens on Saturday were a tragedy that shocked and appalled us all, and we are still coming terms with what happened in our own town.

As more details emerge around those who sadly lost their lives, our thoughts and prayers remain with them and their families, along with those who were injured in the attack.  I would also like to thank our incredible emergency services, who responded so swiftly and bravely in testing circumstances.

Along with everyone at Reading Borough Council, I condemn the attack in the strongest possible terms. It is crucial right now that we stand together as a community and support each other through this. Reading is a safe and peaceful town with a long and proud history of good community relations, and it will be more important than ever to stand by these local strengths. I know that many of you will feel uncertainty, apprehension and anger around what has happened – I feel this way. This makes it all the more important that we stand united.

Reading Borough Council shares in the grief of people in our town, and around the world. We will work with the community and the families of the victims to find ways to mark what has happened, and to ensure there is a permanent memorial where people can pay their respects to those who lost their lives, and everyone affected by the tragic events on Saturday. As plans develop over the coming days and weeks we will share those details widely.

Many in our close-knit community observed a minute’s silence this morning, after which the Mayor of Reading and I joined community and faith leaders in laying flowers to remember those who lost their lives. We know that this terrible tragedy will bring us closer together rather than divide us.

We are working closely with Thames Valley Police to assist with the investigation. Please be aware that some roads, along with Forbury Gardens, are closed currently to help with this and will remain so until the investigation has concluded.

Thames Valley Police has confirmed that a man arrested on Saturday evening remains in police custody at this time, and they do not believe there to be a wider risk. They have reiterated that there is nothing to suggest that anyone else is involved in this incident.

I would like to reassure you that everything is being done to ensure Reading is as safe as ever, and please do not be put off from living life as you usually would in and around Reading.  This week our local Thames Valley Police Neighbourhood Team will have a strong presence in the town centre to reassure the public and businesses. Please do speak with them if you have any concerns, they will be more than happy to help.

Please stay safe, and stay united.

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