Doom & bloom

PUBLISHED: 14:32 13 July 2006 | UPDATED: 11:53 04 May 2010

AFTERMATH: Volunteer bureau manager Avril Hayter-Smith in the garden which has been destroyed by vandals. Photo:  HELEN DRAKE 2949

AFTERMATH: Volunteer bureau manager Avril Hayter-Smith in the garden which has been destroyed by vandals. Photo: HELEN DRAKE 2949

Vandals have wrecked a charity garden - just days before it was to be judged in the Ely in Bloom competition. The hooligans ripped up £140 of plants hours after the Helping Hands garden had been finished. Their actions have left volunteers desperately try

Vandals have wrecked a charity garden - just days before it was to be judged in the Ely in Bloom competition.

The hooligans ripped up £140 of plants hours after the Helping Hands garden had been finished.

Their actions have left volunteers desperately trying to repair the damage before judges in the annual competition arrive to award their marks on Friday.

Seven volunteers, including those with health problems and the long-term unemployed, had worked on the garden through the Ely and District Volunteer Bureau.

Plants were donated by a Wisbech grower and the team created a colourful raised garden at the bottom of Ely's Three Cups Walk.

However, on Friday night, just hours after the garden was completed, they discovered it had been ruined by vandals.

Volunteer Bureau manager Avril Hayter Smith said: "It's so disappointing. We were really delighted with the garden and it made the volunteers feel part of the community and less marginalised.

"The garden looked lovely. It was full of petunias with viburnum all around the edge. People walking through from the car park to the town were ringing to say how nice it looked. We had our sign ready to put up in the garden."

But the volunteers are determined to salvage what is left and recreate the garden in time for the judges.

"I think it is recoverable," said Avril.

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