Vandals destroy Xmas lights display

A MAYOR has condemned the vandals who smashed Christmas lights put up in memory of loved ones.Pat Pearson also vowed to continue the fight to improve Thetford's image - despite the set back which saw thugs climb inside the St Nicholas Hospice “Light up a Life” tree before causing the damage.

A MAYOR has condemned the vandals who smashed Christmas lights put up in memory of loved ones.

Pat Pearson also vowed to continue the fight to improve Thetford's image - despite the set back which saw thugs climb inside the St Nicholas Hospice “Light up a Life” tree before causing the damage.

“I cannot understand why anybody would want to do this,” said Mr Pearson. “I am ashamed that somebody has done this because it does so much harm to the town and spoils it for the rest of the community.

“At first I felt anger and despondency but then you realise it is only a small minority and we must continue to work to help the disaffected and improve the quality of life in the town.”


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Hannah Brannigan, from the Bury St Edmunds-based hospice, said: “We are disappointed in what has happened but we still plan to carry on next year because the lights are meant to shine in memory of loved ones.

“As far as I am aware this has never happened to any of our trees before.”

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The town council, which has spent £32,000 on festive lighting over the last two years, has also removed lights from another tree in town because of the vandalism.

Mr Pearson had decided to have a hospice tree as his wife, Patricia, had chosen to support the charity with a series of coffee mornings and fundraising events.

The Light up a Life campaign gives people who have lost a loved one the chance to sponsor a light on the tree in their memory.

“We are already talking about next year with the hospice and we hope to make it a better event and give the service a wider meaning,” said Mr Pearson.

“We have had problems before in the town and we have been trying very hard to change the town's reputation - we have had a particular problem after the World Cup Portuguese problems.

“However, we are putting a lot of money into the town to improve the quality of life here and we must remember it is only a tiny minority who are ruining things.”

Ed Chambers, town council clerk, said: “We have taken down the lights because young people were interfering with them and posed a safety risk.”

Mr Pearson was keen to point out that there was no evidence to suggest the vandalism had been carried out by youths from Thetford.

The town was rocked by violence in 2004 when 200 football hooligans attacked a Portuguese-owned pub when the England team where knocked out by the European Cup host nation.

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