A LOVINGLY-CREATED statue of a leading Southend philanthropist has been “smashed with a brick” in “systematic and deliberate” vandalism, leaving the artist behind the sculpture furious.

Westcliff artist Dave Taylor had created the memorial for R A Jones, who famously ran the famous jewellers by the same name in Southend High Street.

Mr Jones, who lived from 1849 to 1925, gave Priory Park and Jones Memorial Ground to the town.

The new statue to the Southend benefactor was unveiled on Friday, but just days later it was vandalised.

Mr Taylor said: “I am really, really annoyed about it and it’s incredibly disappointing.

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“I and Southend Council put a lot of work into this.

“I don’t think R A Jones was worthy of this disrespect.

Echo: The R A Jones Southend Jewellers back in the day. A statue has been created in his memoryThe R A Jones Southend Jewellers back in the day. A statue has been created in his memory (Image: newsquest)

“It’s been repeatedly smashed with a brick, there was a broken one found nearby and you can see orange marks left by the brick.

“I don’t know where they got the brick from but they’ve done a lot of damage”

He added: “I do not think it can be replaced and am not sure where we go from here.




“It will have to be removed as it cannot stay there where it is.

“I think it’s most likely to be done by yobs being idiots.

“Nothing lasts forever. But longer than a few days would have been nice.

“This is deliberate and systematic vandalism.

“There’s a lot of work, and not just on my part, down the drain and for what.

“It is just stupidity and idiocy.”

Jones is credited with helping to shape modern Southend with his donations to the town.

He presented the Jones Memorial Ground in 1913 to the school children of the town of Southend in memory of his wife.

The landmark clock in Prittlewell Square was also donated to the town by Jones.

His name is still on the building in Southend High Street with its old clock.

The old R A Jones jewellery store in Southend High Street - near McDonald’s, was at the centre of Southend trading for decades.

His store was taken over by his son, Edward Cecil, and suffered severe damage during the Second World War following an attack in October 1942.

The shop bounced back before eventually closing in 1979.

The famous clock was restored in 2017 and was later unveiled by then Southend mayor, Fay Evans.

Jones died in 1925 and hundreds of residents gathered in Southend High Street to pay their respects to a man who shaped modern Southend.