Vandals have attacked and damaged three of the Herd.
Vandals have attacked and damaged three of the herd of 24 life-sized horses which are on show across West Kent to raise money for Hospice in the Weald.
Yobs swooped late at night to try to wrench the fibre-glass models from their plinths on Pembury village green and in the centre of Tonbridge where thousands have been stopping to admire them. Fundraisers are furious at having to foot the bill for repairs to the horses, painted in stunning designs by local artists.
“So much brilliant creative work has gone into the designs that it is heartbreaking to have this happen,” said Nick Farthing, Income Generation Director. “The horses will be repaired but that is going to cost us money we can ill afford to lose. Ultimately, all 24 horses will be auctioned off to raise more money for Hospice in the Weald, so we cannot afford to have this kind of damage.”
“It is so disappointing for all of the people who have been joining in the fun since we launched the Herd of the Hospice? campaign in July. So many people have told us how much they have enjoyed going around Kent to find all the horses. As we are a charity, not part of the NHS, Hospice in the Weald is so dependent on the community it serves to help raise funds in order for us to continue to provide vital care and support to patients, families and carers. It is incredibly upsetting that a small minority of people would attempt to ruin what has been a very positive campaign for the majority of the community.”
Local businesses came quickly to the rescue of the horses after the vandals struck. In Tonbridge, staff at The Old Fire Station took in the two damaged horses, called Interstellar Steed and Field of the Wild, which stood near the town’s bridge and kept them safely indoors.
And in Pembury, the team at the Camden Arms, opposite the green where the horse Pembury Lass stood, helped to take the model to safety at the pub and clean up twisted bolts to make the plinth safe. They then put pictures and a report of the vandalism on their Facebook site which had 43,000 views in the first 24 hours.
Camden Arms manager Simon Rejbakoz said: “People in Pembury are outraged. The horse has been such a novel attraction on the green and the attack is a real kick in the teeth for the charity and people who have given so much time and effort to the cause. Whoever did that might just as well have come in and stolen the charity box.”
One Facebook follower, Susie Pinder, said: “I am so shocked that such lovely decorated horses, for such a wonderful charity, should be targeted. Trust it is back soon, as it has bought a smile to my face as I've driven through the village.”
Hospice spokesman Nick Farthing added: “We can promise our supporters that the horses will be back on show once they have been repaired. Our Herd of the Hospice? campaign has had such a huge response that we don’t want these vandals to deprive people of their pleasure.”
A Herd Trek map showing the location of all the horses in the Courier-backed campaign can be found at www.herdofthehospice.co.uk Please don’t forget to #jointheherd with your herd selfies on social media!
To donate £3 toward the Herd of the Hospice campaign please text HERD to 70660.