VOLUNTEERS who run a community garden are appealing for donations to replace a stolen memorial bench.

Members of Erskine Community Garden were dismayed to discover that Bruno’s Buddy Bench had vanished from the green space overnight.

The bench had been installed in March as a tribute to Joan Lannigan’s popular pooch Bruno, who died last year.

Despite issuing a plea on social media for its return, the community group has been unable to trace the bench and is now fundraising to replace it with a new and improved version.

Heather Clissett, chair of Erskine Community Garden, said she was “sad and disappointed” when she heard the bench had been stolen.

She told The Gazette: “It was a heavy bench, so I’m surprised it has disappeared from the garden.

“Bruno was a gentle giant who was very well-known in Erskine and Joan was very upset about the bench being taken.

“It is something that is an asset for the whole community, as it represents the unconditional love of an animal.”

The Gazette: Bruno with Joan LanniganBruno with Joan Lannigan

Bruno, who was part-Rottweiler and part-German Shepherd, was a specially-trained ‘therapet’ who comforted those who were stressed or unwell.

The much-loved dog accompanied Joan to the community garden as she carried out voluntary work there, as well as making regular visits to the Erskine Home, in Bishopton, to meet veterans.

Bruno was also known locally as The Sheriff, as he taught boisterous puppies how to play respectfully with each other.

The new bench is set to feature statues of a Rottweiler and a German Shepherd at either end.

Heather added: “It will be a focal point for visitors to the garden.

“The bench will be located near the entrance and overlook most of the garden and we’re hoping to build a pets playground close to it next year.”

To make a donation, search for Bruno’s Buddy Bench at gofundme.com.