Sidney Park volunteers vow to not be deterred after first tree they planted was stolen
VOLUNTEERS trying to improve Sidney Park in Cleethorpes have vowed not to be deterred after the first tree they planted was stolen.
The Sidney Park Friends group was set up just two months ago and they have already got their hands dirty by planting a three foot tall foxglove tree, donated by a nearby resident.
They had hoped it would add a burst of lilac to the park during the summer months but when they returned to the park after the new year, they found that the tree had disappeared.
Chairman Nicola Hocknell said: "It is upsetting because it was the first thing we planted and we were really looking forward to seeing the flowers blossom.
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"Someone went to the trouble of donating it from their own back garden so we were quite shocked that it was stolen.
"At first we thought that perhaps the council had taken it away by mistake."
Nicola told how her daughter, nine-year-old Jessica, who had helped to plant the tree, was "very upset" to see it gone.
"She was searching all over the park, raking through mud and twigs to see if it had been dumped," Nicola added.
The group of dedicated volunteers, however, will not be deterred from improving the park – and have asked the public to do their bit.
She said: "We have always been aware that vandalism has been a problem but we won't let that, this theft, or anything else stop us from making this park better for the people in this area.
"Residents can do their bit by simply reporting anything they see either to the council or the police – and anyone who wants to help our group would be most welcome."
Marina Gunn, who donated the foxglove tree, is giving more specimens to the group, which will be planted all over the park – although they will be much younger and take longer to grow.
Members are also planning to plant a community garden in the largest flower bed in the park, which will allow the community to grow herbs and vegetables.
The produce will either be eaten by local people or sold to raise money for charity.
Five members of the group will be visiting the team behind the Incredible Edible Todmorden project – a similar successful scheme in West Yorkshire – to take advice about setting up the garden.
Nicola said: "The theft of the foxglove tree is just one negative among many positives, and we have had much community support. We think we can really improve this park.
"Children joined in when we were digging the soil, local company Newlincs donated some soil conditioner and one member of the public donated £20 to us in passing – people are really getting behind us."
To report a crime or vandalism in Sidney Park, call North East Lincolnshire Council on 01472 313131 or Humberside Police on 101.
If you would like to join the Sidney Park Friends group, contact Mr Brown on 07760 168698 or e-mail Nicola at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To follow the progress of the group, find them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter – @ CleeSidneyPark, and keep checking your Grimsby Telegraph.