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Ipswich bereavement group condemns 'vile' vandalism of Tree of Remembrance for babies in Holywells Park

PUBLISHED: 12:41 17 December 2017

Laura Houlden, second left, with other parents heartbroken by 'mindless vandalism' of baby bereavement tree in Holywells Park earlier this year. From left: Ali Brett, Laura Houlden, Annie Oliver, Holly Brewin, Michelle Austin. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Laura Houlden, second left, with other parents heartbroken by 'mindless vandalism' of baby bereavement tree in Holywells Park earlier this year. From left: Ali Brett, Laura Houlden, Annie Oliver, Holly Brewin, Michelle Austin. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A baby bereavement group has told of its devastation after "vile" and "mindless" vandals attacked a tree of remembrance in Ipswich for the second time this year.

The Tree of Remembrance in Holywells Park. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe Tree of Remembrance in Holywells Park. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Ipswich Hospital Baby Bereavement Group warned its members on Friday that the Tree of Remembrance in the Magic Garden in Holywells Park had been attacked again.

The tree, which was first vandalised in May, is metal with around 100 brass leaves engraved with the names and birth date of babies who died as a way for families to remember loved ones.

Laura Houlden, a volunteer with the group whose son Reece died in July 2014, said the vandalism was a “vile” act.

“It’s the worst thing that we could imagine,” she added.

“We are beyond devastated.”

“It’s mindless, it’s vile, it’s pointless.

“Why do something so hurtful to something so precious?

“What mentality must people have to feel they need to do something like this?”

The baby bereavement tree in Holywells Park. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe baby bereavement tree in Holywells Park. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Christmas timing, coupled with the fact it is the second such attack this year, has compounded the group’s dismay,

“Christmas can be an emotional time of year as it is, but to go to the tree and find it has been damaged is just heartbreaking,” Mrs Houlden added.

She said the group would be investigating the vandalism and working with police.

“We are not just going to let it go,” she added.

“It’s so upsetting for the families and we need to do something about it.”

The group does not want to move the tree out of the park as it needs to be accessible for the families to visit when they like.

Members would like to improve security, such as new cameras, however there is no electricity in that section of the park. They plan to work with park officials to find a solution.

Members would also like to catch the vandals – but rather than punish they culprits, Mrs Houlden would rather they met with the families affected to understand the consequence of their actions.

The vandalism has seen two of the brass leaves forcibly removed from the tree.

Both families are aware of the vandalism and receiving support from the group.

The leaves will be replaced by the group, hopefully in January.

A spokesman for Ipswich Hospital said: “We are deeply saddened by this vandalism and will work closely with the police in their investigation.”

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