Festive spirit in Wrentham lifts gloom of vandalism

THERE was a festive air in Wrentham at the weekend as it hosted a Christmas bazaar.

But along with the carols, mince pies and other seasonal treats, the event had a more serious role – to raise funds for a host of community groups, including its vandalism-plagued village hall.

Saturday's event, organised by Wrentham Parish Council and held at the village hall, came after another recent spate of vandalism which has seen thousands of pounds of damage caused.

In March, The Journal reported that villagers had organised a car boot sale to raise much-needed funds for their main community meeting point after nearly two years' of persistent vandalism had left them with a hefty repair bill.

Over the past 20 months, windows have been smashed, guttering has been ripped down and the electricity meter box broken. Damage has also been caused in the car park and there are constant litter problems.

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Last year, in a bid to prevent anti-social behaviour, the parish council arranged for the Four Towns community bus to visit the village to provide youngsters with a range of activities and meet up with their friends.

Parish chairman David Reeves said: 'We tried to provide better youth facilities with the Four Towns Bus coming on Friday evenings, which is paid for by donations as it's �175 every time it comes.'

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But in the past couple of months the problem has escalated again with more vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

The parish clerk, Angela Day, said: 'The emergency light and windows keep getting smashed at the village hall, but it's not just us – the Factory Shop has been targeted and cars have been damaged.'

The ongoing problems led the parish council and other groups to join forces to raise funds, and Saturday's event was the latest example of their efforts to maintain community spirit.

With carols around the tree, stalls run by the community organisations and a visit to Santa Claus, there was a real festive feel to proceedings. And with entertainment provided by the folk band River Hundred – which features members from the area – delighted organisers declared the bazaar a big success.

'The main thing is to raise funds for the local community,' Mr Reeves said. 'They all have their own stalls here and while we will get some monies to go towards the village hall upkeep – the main thing is the community funds.'

Meanwhile, the police are continuing to investigating the latest spate of vandalism.

However, this week, a police spokesman told The Journal: 'We are are dealing with a 14-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy in connection with damage incidents. One of them is due to carry out a community resolution.'

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