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‘You can’t get no presents from Santa’ - Children react to vandalism at play park

PUBLISHED: 09:20 09 December 2018 | UPDATED: 09:25 09 December 2018

A screenshot from the video made in response to the vandalism at the newly-opened play park at North Walsham's Memorial Park. Image: SUPPLIED BY MATTHEW SMITH

A screenshot from the video made in response to the vandalism at the newly-opened play park at North Walsham's Memorial Park. Image: SUPPLIED BY MATTHEW SMITH

Archant

Children have shared their devastation over the vandalism of a newly-opened play park on YouTube.

A screenshot showing a boy from the video made in response to the vandalism at the newly-opened play park at North Walsham's Memorial Park. Image: SUPPLIED BY MATTHEW SMITHA screenshot showing a boy from the video made in response to the vandalism at the newly-opened play park at North Walsham's Memorial Park. Image: SUPPLIED BY MATTHEW SMITH

The video was made by Matthew Smith, trustee and founder of North Walsham Play, which had the play park built at a cost of £90,000 after years of community fundraising.

But, just days after the facility was opened on December 1 at the town’s Memorial Park, vandals struck, ripping off a couple of panels in what was described as “mindless destruction”.

Mr Smith said the video was made: “To get a message out there to explain that A, vandalism is pointless and B, its not always the adults affected by this mindless behaviour.

“We want to demonstrate and show to all that this incident will not stop us in our efforts to improve the play parks across the town.”

A screenshot showing Steve Hewlett and 'Arthur Lager' from the video made in response to the vandalism at the newly-opened play park at North Walsham's Memorial Park. Image: SUPPLIED BY MATTHEW SMITHA screenshot showing Steve Hewlett and 'Arthur Lager' from the video made in response to the vandalism at the newly-opened play park at North Walsham's Memorial Park. Image: SUPPLIED BY MATTHEW SMITH

The video shows a mum explaining to her children that the park had been damaged, whereupon her daughter bursts into tears.

When asked how the vandalism made them feel, one little girl said: “To me it makes me feel sad and disappointed because all the people that had put all that effort into raising money to donate to the park so that everyone enjoys it and has fun.”

When asked what they would say to the people who caused the damage, a little boy said: “How dare you do that?”

And a girl suggested: “They should help donate the money so they have a kind of punishment at the same time as helping because they’re the ones who ruined everyone’s fun.”

A screenshot showing two girls from the video made in response to the vandalism at the newly-opened play park at North Walsham's Memorial Park. Image: SUPPLIED BY MATTHEW SMITHA screenshot showing two girls from the video made in response to the vandalism at the newly-opened play park at North Walsham's Memorial Park. Image: SUPPLIED BY MATTHEW SMITH

MORE: Search for witnesses after ‘mindless destruction’ of play park just days after it opened

When asked what they thought should happen to the culprit/s, several of the children said they should go to jail. But one girl thought the punishment should not be so harsh, saying: “You can’t get no presents from Santa.”

The video, made with help from Chris Taylor Photography, concludes with a message from Steve Hewlett, a ventriloquist from Basingstoke who reached the finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2013.

He said: “I’m just really sad for the children that are suffering. You saw on the video the poor girl that was in tears. Think about what you’re doing before you go and do something, and you know it’s wrong. Don’t do it again.”

Mr Hewlett, who has also performed at Cromer Pier, then brings out his puppet, Arthur Lager, who himself calls the damage “disgusting”.

North Walsham play park vandalised. Pictures: North Walsham Town CouncilNorth Walsham play park vandalised. Pictures: North Walsham Town Council

The play park has been re-opened since the vandalism, which happened between 10pm and midnight on Monday, December 3.

Anyone with information should report it to the police on 101.

North Walsham play park vandalised. Pictures: North Walsham Town CouncilNorth Walsham play park vandalised. Pictures: North Walsham Town Council

The official opening of the play park in North Walsham. Picture: John Newstead PhotographyThe official opening of the play park in North Walsham. Picture: John Newstead Photography

The official opening of the play park in North Walsham. The ribbon was cut by Town Mayor and Trustee of North Walsham Play Barry Hester, Cllr Penfold from NNDC Big Society's Panel and Founder and Trustee of North Walsham Play, Matthew Smith. Picture: John Newstead PhotographyThe official opening of the play park in North Walsham. The ribbon was cut by Town Mayor and Trustee of North Walsham Play Barry Hester, Cllr Penfold from NNDC Big Society's Panel and Founder and Trustee of North Walsham Play, Matthew Smith. Picture: John Newstead Photography

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