Vandals cause £700 of damage to stage at Friarwood Valley Gardens

The stage at Friarwood Valley Gardens.

Hundreds of pounds of damage was done to the stage at Pontefract’s Friarwood Valley Gardens this weekend.

Voluntary group Friends of Friarwood Valley Gardens have launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay for repairs after the brickwork was deliberately damaged.

The stage at Friarwood Valley Gardens.

Repairs to the structure are expected to cost £700.

The damage was first noticed on the morning of Saturday, September 8 and is believed to have been done the previous evening.

Colin White, chair of the Friends, said: “We thought a brick and concrete structure would be vandal-proof.

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The stage was the central point of last month's Friarwood Festival.

“It’s less than two years old. I think what’s happened is that one of the bricks has come loose and they’ve lifted it off and that’s left all the brickwork open to being kicked.

“It’s amazing, the amount of support we’ve received. It’s really very gratifying.

“I’m laughing about it because it’s something that really upsets you and then you’re just amazed at the support that local people will give.”

The stage was installed with help from the Tesco Bags of Help campaign, and hosted its first event in July 2017.

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It has featured as the central point for a number of events at the park, including the Liquorice Festival, the Royal British Legion WW1 event and last month’s Friarwood Festival.

The fundraiser, launched on Saturday morning, has already raised £350 towards the repair of the stage.

To donate to the fundraiser, click here.

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police said: “Police were called on 8 September to reports of criminal damage in a park in Pontefract.

“The incident happened between 7 and 8 September at Valley Gardens park on Friarwood Lane in the town.

“A suspect removed some paving slabs near to the stage area in the park.

“Anyone who witnessed this incident or has any information is asked to contact the police via 101 quoting crime reference number 13180448342.”

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