Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 5°C

Search

‘Please return the reindeer’ – Outpouring of support for owner of vandalised Christmas display redeems faith in festive season

PUBLISHED: 18:05 20 December 2017 | UPDATED: 18:05 20 December 2017

Guy Hayward next to his festive display where the reindeer were stolen from.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Guy Hayward next to his festive display where the reindeer were stolen from. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The creator of a festive display was so angered by the theft of model reindeer that he considered closing the grotto for good – but an outpouring of support redeemed his faith in the season of goodwill.

Guy Hayward has set up a Christmas display on his land near Wickham Market for each of the past seven years.

But on Sunday morning he was shocked to discover thieves had made off with two of the model reindeer, They had also vandalised the lights display and damaged the Santa Claus he had created for the first time.

“I couldn’t believe it when I first saw it,” he said, “I just thought, it’s such a crazy thing for someone to do and I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to steal the reindeer. It’s all for the children and for Christmas. Other stuff gets stolen and you just have to accept it, but this was too much.”

Mr Hayward made a post about the theft on the Facebook page for the Oliver Hayward Playbarn - a play centre and cafe he opened in 2015 in memory of two of his children – and was inundated with positive messages.

Mr Hayward has created a festive display for each of the past seven years.  Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN Mr Hayward has created a festive display for each of the past seven years. Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN

People commenting said they were “speechless” to learn of the theft, which was described as “despicable”, “disgusting” and “awful”. Many others commented about how much they and their children loved the display and how “amazing” it looked.

The playbarn is in a prominent location near to the B1116/B1078 roundabout, just off the A12, and is passed by hundreds of motorists every day.

Mr Hayward said the response to his post restored his faith in the festive season and encouraged him to continue with the display.

“I didn’t realise until I saw the comments on Facebook, just how many people love to see the display, which for some seems to mark the start of Christmas,” he said. “When I first saw the damage I was very upset and my initial reaction was that I would take everything down and wouldn’t do it again. It was purely through the messages I saw on Facebook that I thought I would definitely keep going.”

Mr Hayward saved what he can from this year’s display and will buy new reindeer for next year.

Earlier this month, families in Kesgrave hit out at “malicious” vandals who were destroying Christmas decorations in gardens.

Outdoor decorations were destroyed in Bugsby Way and Adams Place, while a reindeer was stolen from another property.

Health leaders have pledged to at least halve the number of people who die in hospital in Suffolk and north-east Essex by 2021.

A parking price war is about to break out in Ipswich as the town’s new Crown multi-storey car park nears completion.

The new royal baby will be sharing his birthday with a number of new additions across our region.

A man accused of stabbing a homeless man in Ipswich town centre has been jailed for seven and a half years.

New mental health beds for children and young people are set to open in the region after a review found current services were not enough.

A recovering addict who credits yoga with pulling him out of the darkness has revealed plans to start his own business in Suffolk to help others tackle their demons.

A murder investigation has been launched after the discovery of a man’s body within a Colchester car park this morning.

Anglia Retail Park on the edge of Ipswich is set to be full for the first time in years by the end of the summer as furniture and household retailer Dunelm moves to the site.

Wildlife experts fear important sites across Suffolk could be “irrevocably damaged” if they are not protected when planning laws are revised.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have shown off their new baby son outside St Mary’s Hospital in London.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24