VANDALS have forced the opening of a jubilee garden to be scrapped after destroying a statue less than 18 hours after it was put up.
The stone obelisk, which cost more than £400, was placed in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee commemorative garden in Swakeleys Park, Ickenham on Wednesday, May 16 but by the following morning it had been forced over and broken.
Hillingdon Council has now cancelled the planned opening, which was due to be held on Saturday, and the incident has sparked outrage in people who have worked so hard to get the garden ready.
Neena Bedi, of the Friends of Swakeleys Group, said it was hugely disappointing and felt youths were to blame.
She said: “We have had problems with gangs of youths hanging around the park causing problems and they now appear to be in a competition with each to see how destructive they can be.
“The obelisk was up one night before it was damaged and it is hugely upsetting to all the volunteers who give up their time to help in the park.
“It is horrible and we are very angry about what has happened. A lot of people were looking forward to the opening ceremony.”
The commemorative garden was designed by the council’s Green Spaces Team. It was to contain benches and the obelisk, alongside a landscaped area to pay tribute to the Queen’s 60 years on the throne.
Jean Palmer, deputy chief executive and corporate director of planning, environment, education and community services at the council, said: “Due to vandals damaging the obelisk, we are now looking to use alternative materials for the replacement.
“As a result we are postponing Saturday’s opening event so that residents and visitors can enjoy the garden as we intended.”
The new Mayor of Hillingdon, Councillor Michael Markham, had been due to perform the official opening and, at the time of going to press, no new date had yet been set.
It is not known if it will be before the jubilee on June 4.