Pair heartbroken as vandals ruin charity banner

Mark Ridgway, 44, with his wife Annmarie, 41, of Zest Events Havant with the banner vandalised with cigarette burn holes and offensive drawings '''''''         Picture: Malcolm Wells (151020-9818)
Mark Ridgway, 44, with his wife Annmarie, 41, of Zest Events Havant with the banner vandalised with cigarette burn holes and offensive drawings ''''''' Picture: Malcolm Wells (151020-9818)
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VANDALS have left two fundraisers heartbroken after dealing a blow to their ambitious effort to raise thousands of pounds.

Annmarie Ridgway and Tresslyn Taylor were getting ready to launch a series of fundraising events marking Portsmouth’s unsung heroes and advertised their plans with a 10ft banner.

These two women are doing the best they can for local people and this is how they are repaid

Frank Jonas

But on Sunday Annmarie, 41, of West Leigh, got a phone call telling her that the banner at Inn Lodge, off Burrfields Road, Portsmouth, had been graffitied with obscenities.

She said: ‘It’s disappointing because it’s not like we’ve got money to waste. We’re definitely carrying on but I was a bit disheartened.’

The pair are running Heroes of Portsmouth Past and Present to praise unsung heroes and highlight the city’s historic past.

Friend and co-fundraiser Tresslyn, 43, of Stubbington, added: ‘It’s a big, big project that we’re doing and then something like this, some mindless idiot come along and destroys a banner.

‘I don’t see the point why people do stuff like that.

‘It’s very disappointing because we’ve put a lot of effort into this.’

The pair reported the criminal damage to Hampshire police.

The force said no CCTV was available and the incident happened between October 10 and 18.

Annmarie was told on Sunday by hotel staff.

She fears the banner was targeted deliberately as it was advertising a charity event.

‘We don’t know if it was because it had charity on it or Portsmouth on it,’ she said.

‘I know it couldn’t have been people just drunk from the pub, you don’t just get pink paint.’

The duo are launching their fundraising bid in January.

It includes a firewalk in February and a charity psychic night in January.

All cash will be split between the charity fund run by Portsmouth’s Lord Mayor councillor Frank Jonas, Football for Cancer and the Portsmouth branch of the MS Society.

The series will end with a black tie dinner at the Guildhall with three people in the community taking pride of place for their work in the city.

Cllr Jonas said: ‘It’s just galling to think that there are such people about.These two women are doing the best they can for local people and this is how they are repaid.’

He added: ‘Sometimes you just despair.’