A request for a memorial bench in memory of an Islander who worked at and loved Culver Down has been turned down after an appeal.

Over 18 months, the family of Andrew Gilliam has been campaigning for the bench to be allowed on the National Trust-owned land, behind Bembridge Fort.

National Trust has told the County Press that talks continue in a bid to find an alternative option.

However, the family has called this second rejection "particularly upsetting" and has launched a petition on Change.org.

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Their request was turned down, they say, because their proposed bench would be within 82 metres of an existing one.

However, they say the one that is already there is little more than 'an old plank of wood on two struts' and is not a 'proper' bench at all.

Isle of Wight County Press: The family in happier times at Bembridge Fort with Andrew (back, left).The family in happier times at Bembridge Fort with Andrew (back, left).

Daughter Zoe Perkis told the County Press: "We were told we may be able to apply for a bench elsewhere on Bembridge Downs, overlooking Sandown Bay.

"But it is the location that is important to us - near the tree where Dad's ashes were scattered.

"We have asked for a copy of the criteria used to make the decision, but have so far been provided with nothing."

They intend to pay at least £400 for the memorial bench and say they do not believe it would spoil the beauty of the location, or impact its wildlife, flora or fauna.

Isle of Wight County Press: The family at the site where they want the memorial bench.The family at the site where they want the memorial bench.

Zoe's dad was a Bembridge Fort volunteer, who gave guided tours of the building sited at the top of Culver Down, while living with cancer.

He even won the honour of being named Best Tour Guide.

His family say: "He was passionate about the fort and its history and used to play there as a child.

"He often flew his model aeroplanes on Culver Down, which is why we chose the tree behind the fort as the place to scatter his ashes.

"Dad was well known in many circles on the Island."

He was also a published author, writing a local history book about plane crashes on the Island, called Wight Air Wrecks.

Isle of Wight County Press: The family at the site where they want a memorial bech - near to where Andrew Gilliam's ashes were scattered.

Andrew Gilliam's family said: "We would just like to honour him, his life, and his generosity of spirit.

"We are so saddened by the decision, after all the hours dad put in helping the National Trust, even while he was quite poorly.

"We just want to be able to sit and be close to him."

More than 140 people have already signed the petition, which is calling for the bench to be allowed.

National Trust countryside manager Robin Lang said: "National Trust on the Island handles numerous ‘memorial bench’ requests each year and careful consideration is given to each one.

"Our criteria for accepting memorial benches include: If it is needed on a popular walking route, to provide walkers with a rest point; Aesthetically if it fits in with open countryside; Siting benches at a good viewpoint.

"We have limited capacity to administer and maintain our stock of almost 100 benches.

"Any additional benches must very clearly meet these criteria.

"In this instance, we are in discussions with the family about possible alternatives."