Rotary president hails public response after yobs slash marquee

The damaged marquee - which was slashed by yobs

The damaged marquee - which was slashed by yobs - Credit: Archant

The president of Soham Staploe Rotary Club says he has been “tremendously heartened” by the show of public support following a mindless act of vandalism which saw a marquee repeatedly slashed.

The damaged marquee - which was slashed by yobs

The damaged marquee - which was slashed by yobs - Credit: Archant

On Saturday morning, members of the rotary club arrived at the town’s recreation ground ready for the second day of the Soham Beer and Music Festival only to find their marquee had been slashed wide open overnight.

The marquee was hired by the club from the 2nd Soham Scout group and may have been rendered useless by the hundreds of pounds of damage caused to the canvas.

But the outcry from people around the town has been unanimous and dozens of people have come forward to offer their support. A disco has already been organised for October 10 to raise funds to repair or replace the marquee.

Ian Sutherland, president of the rotary club, said: “The response has been tremendously heartening and things have been moving at quite a pace.

“We’re not sure what was used to cause the damage but we noticed that a tent peg was missing so we suspect it might have been that. It put a dampener on what was otherwise a very, very successful event with great crowds.

“What we will do now is sit down with the scouts and other groups and see what we can do to move forward from here.”

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Mark Clements, of 2nd Soham Scouts, posted on Facebook: “This marquee is owned by 2nd Soham Scout group and is made available for events like the beer festival, carnival, pumpkin fair etc.

“It is also hired out for a donation to private parties and events. It gives the group a small but immensely important income per year to help provide subsidised weekly meetings, activities, trips and camps to approximately 80 beavers, cubs and scouts.

“It is maintained and put up and down by volunteers who all have full time jobs giving up their valuable personal and family time.

“It can probably be repaired but it will wipe out all the fundraising the group has done this year which ultimately takes away from the young people of Soham.”

Aside from the damage to the marquee, the two-day Beer and Music Festival was a resounding success, with thousands of pints of beer and cider and hundreds of burgers sold. Organisers estimate that about £5,000 was raised for charity.