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Vandals rip down poppy display from Penge war memorial

PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 October 2018

The knitted poppies. Photo:Penge Partners

The knitted poppies. Photo:Penge Partners

Archant

Volunteers in Penge have been left dismayed after a pair of vandals destroyed a poppy display at the war memorial.

The war memorial in HIgh Street, Penge. Photo: Penge PartnersThe war memorial in HIgh Street, Penge. Photo: Penge Partners

They had spent months knitting over 500 poppies. They had only just been put up on the railings surrounding the memorial there to remember those who fell in the First World War.

Last year’s mayor and Penge Partners chairman, Cllr Kathy Bance, had organised the novel display.

She said it has taken six months to finish all the knitted poppies in preparation for the centenary of the First World War.

But she has now revealed the poppies were vandalised and ripped down.

The poppies were taken from the railings around the war memorial. Photo: Penge PartnersThe poppies were taken from the railings around the war memorial. Photo: Penge Partners

She said: “We received a message on Facebook from Nigel Wooliston a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer - he volunteers at The Army Cadet Unit close to St John’s Church.”

He said: “The memorial is at the entrance to the Penge Recreation Ground.

“It has been tended and looked after lovingly for years by Penge Partners group and the cadet unit.”

He then described what happened, saying: “Two men or teenagers decided to tear down all of the knitted poppies that adorned the railings around the war memorial and left them strewn around the pavement and the road for no apparent reason.

“Two of my cadets witnessed this and reported this to me but by the time I rushed out of the unit to confront them they were gone.

“We got some boxes and collected all of the poppies and they are now at our cadet unit temporary until we can contact someone from Penge Partners who I believe put them up in the first place.”

He added: “There has been a huge response from this, the whole community of Penge is pulling together to get these poppies repaired or additional poppies knitted.”

She added: “We are saddened the disrespect at the vandalism of the poppies.

“Residents have been very supportive. We can confirm the reinstallation will be at 12 noon on Sunday and also confirm the cadets alongside a large group of volunteers will assist reinstating the poppies.”

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