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Gloucestershire Business News

Vandals strike at hospice grounds

Staff, volunteers and supporters of Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice were left reeling this week after arriving to find its grounds had been vandalised overnight.

Hospice staff discovered totem poles, which had been created and painted to record the life stories of patients whilst in the care of the hospice, upended and thrown into the hospice's lake.

Thrown about, hand-sewn cushions donated by the hospice's volunteer sewing group to be placed in an arbour overlooking the lake providing a safe space for patients, families, volunteers and staff to sit quietly.

Elise Hoadley, service director at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice said, "It is quite unbelievable that we have suffered such mindless vandalism within our peaceful hospice grounds. Our gardens provide sanctuary for our patients, families, volunteers, and supporters and those who come here to remember loved ones we have cared for.

"Not only this, but the senseless act has taken place a few days ahead of our fundraising Spring Fayre - a time when we open our grounds to visitors to come in, enjoy the gardens and help raise vital funds for dying and grieving people who need our charity's care and support.

"Our grounds are lovingly tended to by a team of gardening volunteers, and I am so very sorry they had to come in today ahead of making their final preparations for the Spring Fayre to find this mess."

David Bills, head gardener at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, said, "Instead of focusing on tidying the grounds, our staff and volunteers have had to work hard fishing items out of our lake and repairing the mindless damage caused. There are nesting ducks on our lake, whose routines would have been disrupted by all of this despite how carefully we have worked.

"Being greeted by the sight of the vandalised grounds is a stark reminder of the disregard some hold for spaces that mean so much to others. Our volunteer gardeners pour their hearts into these gardens, nurturing it as it has nurtured the spirits of those in our care. To see it marred in such a way is so disheartening. Especially at a time when we have been working hard to make sure the grounds look their best for all the visitors, we hope to welcome to our Spring Fayre this weekend being held in the hospice grounds."

Elise added, "Our Spring Fayre on Saturday is a special day in our calendar when we open our doors to the local community and raise vital funds for families needing our care. I am so glad that thanks to the swift action of our staff and volunteer gardeners we can continue to go ahead with the event after they have worked to put right the wrong which has been done here."

The vandalism has been reported to Gloucestershire Police and anyone with any information is asked to contact them on 101 quoting incident 158 of 20/03/2024.

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