Subway mural vandalism outrage

By Jenni DixonA MURAL that took more than 20 teenagers almost a year to create has been vandalised so badly that project organisers believe it will have to be completely repainted.

By Jenni Dixon

A MURAL that took more than 20 teenagers almost a year to create has been vandalised so badly that project organisers believe it will have to be completely repainted.

The idea behind painting the subway wall under Saxon Way in Halesworth came from the town's Crime Prevention Panel following discussions on how to tackle graffiti and vandalism in the area.

Pupils from Halesworth Middle School helped design the mural before a professional artist produced the final 16m by 2m artwork, with about 20 youngsters painting it onto the wall last December.


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But now vandals have attacked the mural with ink, which has angered Alan Holzer, vice-chairman of the panel, which helped raise £2,000 for the project. “The work been completely ruined, it's really sickening and I feel physically sick,” he said.

The retired teacher had repainted small parts of the mural during the week to cover obscene and racist graffiti, but after finding a fresh bout of vandalism yesterday morning, he believed most of the work would have to be redone.

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“It was designed and carried out by young people, for young people and apart from minor graffiti there have been no serious problems. I would like to speak to whoever is responsible just to find out why they did it,” said Mr Holzer.

Lowestoft College student, Hannah Sewell, 17, from Beccles, became involved in the project through the panel and helped paint it.

“It's crazy and very upsetting. It's a lovely piece of work and lots of people watched us paint it,” she said.

Richard Nichols, headteacher of Halesworth Middle School, added: “I feel really disappointed because a lot of time and effort went into the project. It was all about how the young people wanted their town to look and doing it for the town.”

Funds for the project came from the panel, the Waveney Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership, Connexions Suffolk and county councillor Peter Aldous's locality budget.

Mr Aldous said: “I feel very disappointed, but this has come at a very ironic time as it was held up at a police forum this week as a good example of getting young people engaged and it had been a great success.

“I suspect it is a mindless people who have spoilt everyone's effort and it is a very bad reflection on things generally.”

A Suffolk police spokeswoman added: “This vandalism is deplorable. A lot of people put a lot of effort into creating this artwork and it's sad that someone has decided to deface it in this way.”

Anyone with information should contact Halesworth police on 01986 835300.

jenni.dixon@eadt.co.uk

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