Residents gutted as vandals strike again

By Roger Moroney

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Last year, after their knitted and sewn decorative "tree cosy" was one of two stolen from Emerson St in Napier, the residents of the Bardowie Retirement Complex were left wondering if there was any point in creating another one for this year's palm-borne exhibition.

Bardowie's activities person Christine Reid said those who had put in "a lot of time" to create the many knitted squares and designs last year were left shaking their heads and bemoaning "it'll probably only get stolen again".

"It was difficult to persuade them to do it again," she said. "These are people in their 80s and 90s. It isn't easy for them to do."

But in the end, a core group of about eight residents decided they would once again do their bit to give the palms of the main street a bit of colour and imaginative life.

But after what Mrs Reid discovered last Saturday morning, that might be it.

Their second effort, which she said took several months of work and was based on various nursery rhymes, was targeted by vandals last Friday night.

They tore off two of the "three little pigs" and ripped stitching between many of the knitted squares.

"It is so disappointing," Mrs Reid said. "Why would anyone want to do something like that?" She carefully cut down the damaged cosy yesterday and said she would do her best to repair it.

But the hardest part was having to tell the residents who had put so much time into it.

Christine Heaney from Creative Napier, which developed the decorative tree cosy programme, said the Bardowie nursery rhymes effort was one of two cosies which had become targets for vandals during the past few days. That, added to the theft and damage of some last year, was almost certainly the reason behind a big drop in the number put up this year, she said.

"We had over 30 last year but only 14 this year," Mrs Heaney said. "It is sad and disheartening because we have had some great comments from people about them. They brighten things up."

She and Mrs Reid were in agreement in their attitude toward those responsible for the damage.

"Don't let them win," Mrs Reid said. "Don't give in to them." She added that she would look at putting the work back up, but towards the lower end of Emerson St where it was likely to be safer.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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