VANDALS have struck again at the award-winning Bowerhill Residents Action Group (BRAG) picnic area.
This is the second time this year that the picnic area, located next to the Kennet and Avon canal, has been targeted. Similar to the attack in May, vandals have attempted to destroy the bug hotel, damaged flowers, smashed ornaments, and caused damage to the pond area. The group suspect that the vandalism took place on the night of Tuesday 9th July. However, the group has refused to be beaten by the vandals, and have vowed to once again repair the damage caused.
BRAG members Jennifer and Graham Butcher, said, “They tried again without success to push over the bug hotel by levering it with one of the long planks surrounding the picnic site, but managed to only put it off balance.
“Again they pulled off flower heads, broke pots, up rooted plants and threw large boulders into the already-damaged pond area, which is now totally cracked open, so no water remains on one side.
“They tried to split open the top of one of the picnic tables by throwing onto the surface a large heavy boulder. Luckily the strong plastic top survived the onslaught. They then cracked the paving slabs which lead down to the litter bin.
“They then enjoyed smashing the remaining stone ornaments put there by our visiting children. They also found some of the mini-bug houses put there by a local Cub group last week for a experiment. Luckily we managed to fish this out of the damaged pond without too much damage.
“So again today (10th July) we cleared away all the dangerous sharp pieces of pots and plant debris and tried to make the area safe for normal people to visit.
“BRAG will not bow down to these thugs, so all damage will be rectified in due course.”
Since the picnic area opened in June 2015, the team has won countless awards for their work – this year the group is aiming to win the South West in Bloom’s ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ award for the sixth year running.
Judges from the annual competition visited the picnic area on Friday 5th July, days before the latest attack took place. However, the group weren’t so lucky when judges came to visit from the Wiltshire Best Kept Village Competition run by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).
BRAG member Pauline Helps said, “Bowerhill was entered into the Best Kept Village competition this year and we didn’t know when the judging was. Unfortunately it turned out that they judged us just after the last lot of vandalism (in May) and we were marked down for it.
“Just as well it was last Friday that the judge for our entry in ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ section of the South West in Bloom competition came round to see it!”