Southwell House Highbridge - Sharon Reid and Mike Jones

Members of a Highbridge group who oversee a long-running community hall and war memorial garden say they are ‘gutted’ that vandals have attacked the building.

The volunteers who maintain Southwell House and Gardens were shocked this week to find that two windows have been smashed with a BB (ball bearing) gun – the third incident since the start of the Coronavirus lockdown.

Last month, reported here that Highbridge War Memorial Trust had started a crowdfunding page to raise money for internal remedial works to return it to good order and replace its heating system. netted a total of £940.

Secretary Sharon Reid told “We are absolutely gutted. Our fundraising campaign ended this week with £940 raised and then this happens, the third time since lockdown.”

“We have not been able to apply for the Government’s £10,000 village hall funding grant and have also been turned down for funding by the Town Council as we are not involved with the Covid response.”

Sharon, pictured with Treasurer Mike Jones, adds: “Three volunteers have recently been turning up every other day and staying 3-4 hours each time to decorate the whole of the inside while a volunteer gardener has been working on the sunken gardens.”

“I’m at present sewing new window coverings and all this hard work has been marred by this mindless act. I have been involved with the charity for 6-7 years and never seen any vandalism in all that time.”

“As Secretary, being a volunteer and still working, it is disheartening and very hard work that is especially concerning at this present time.”

“It’s looking very unlikely that a good few of our groups will not be re-hiring now until the new year. This is a massive worry to the trustees. Also very concerning is whoever is doing this is using some sort of ball bearing firing weapon. I have a meeting with the police this week.”

Four windows on the building have been vandalised this year, she adds, with three incidents during the lockdown including two overnight between Monday and Tuesday this week.

She adds: “The Trustees are pulling out their hair trying to raise funds. We are just asking for a little goodwill here to help our plight.”


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