Pupils heartbroken as vandals leave plants strewn around school

UPSET With the vandalised flower display are pupils (back l-r) Diane Coleman (8), Tia Adams (8), Kristy Nordkvelle-Combs (9), Emma Charleston (10) and Kelsey Mills (9) with (front l-r) Carra Tanner (7), Jimmy Edwards (8), Amy Taylor (10) and Erin Tanner (9) next to one of the flower boxes which was vandalised.''     Picture: Sarah Standing (112298-3059)
UPSET With the vandalised flower display are pupils (back l-r) Diane Coleman (8), Tia Adams (8), Kristy Nordkvelle-Combs (9), Emma Charleston (10) and Kelsey Mills (9) with (front l-r) Carra Tanner (7), Jimmy Edwards (8), Amy Taylor (10) and Erin Tanner (9) next to one of the flower boxes which was vandalised.'' Picture: Sarah Standing (112298-3059)
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YOUNGSTERS who spent hours working to make their school gardens brighter have been left devastated after vandals pulled up their plants.

It is the second time yobs have ruined the hard work of Elson Junior School’s gardening club, whose members had recently decorated the entrance to the school with plants and shrubs.

The school caretaker, Colin Croucher, found the plants strewn across the grounds last Wednesday morning.

They had been in a flower bed which had been cared for by the gardening club.

Caroline Fielder, who runs the gardening club, said: ‘The children were really upset about it.

‘It’s just really frustrating because the kids have put in all that hard work and then someone comes along and wrecks it in a matter of minutes.

‘We have nine young people who are in the gardening club and they spend two of their lunchtimes each week working in the garden areas here.

‘They love it and they are so enthusiastic.

‘They come up to me every day asking if we can go out and work some more in the gardens.

‘So I’m livid about what happened.’

Mrs Fielder said it was not the first time the green-fingered youngsters have had their hard work destroyed.

When the school first took delivery of the soil and wood chippings needed for the plant areas, vandals overturned them and slashed at the bags.

She added: ‘It was just two days after the soil and the bark had arrived.

‘We came in and the big bags had been jumped on and turned over and someone had slashed one of the bags open.

‘The wood chippings and things had been spread all over the car park.

‘The children were really upset because they work their little socks off. They’ve been working with me since September and they have been working really hard on the gardens.’

The school’s caretaker spent Wednesday morning trying to return as many of the plants to the flower bed as possible.

But Mrs Fielder thinks many of the 10 plants which were torn from the area will not survive.

The shrubs cost between £8 and £10 each and were bought using money donated by the school’s parent-teacher association.

Erin Tanner, nine, said: ‘It made me feel very cross and upset.

‘We helped get the donation money and we grew them.

‘We put that effort in and then someone came along and just pulled them out.’

The gardening club meets twice a week to work on the school’s green areas.

Members are currently working on a small allotment in a wooded area at the back of the school.

Amy Taylor, 10, who is also a member of the gardening club, said: ‘We go over to the pond area and we have a little allotment where we plant flowers and vegetables like cabbage and lettuce.

‘We work very hard and it isn’t very nice when someone comes and ruins it like that.’

The youngsters have been working with staff from Hambrooks garden centre, in Titchfield, to plan the green areas around the school.