Eyes and ears plea as Blackpool park's willow dome is restored

Volunteers working to restore the dome at Highfield Park
Volunteers working to restore the dome at Highfield Park
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Volunteers working to revamp a Blackpool park are calling on young people to help in the effort to keep the site safe from vandals.

This week the willow dome at Highfield Park in Highfield Road, South Shore was damaged by yobs.

That prompted the park’s Friends group to warn funding for a multi-use games area was at risk should vandalism continue.

But the Friends of Highfield Park remain positive and are hoping young people who use the area in an evening can be their eyes and ears.

Chairman Gary Pennington said: “It’s very sad what happened.

“The willow was planted in February or March last year for a play which was staged by Left Coast.

“It was a great legacy for the park.

“The willow dome was a very popular feature

“We had nurseries who like to bring the children and tell them stories underneath it.

“It was a lovely spot enjoyed by dozens of young children and grown ups alike.

“On Monday somebody chose to damage it, it was very bad and we had to remove two legs.

“It’s only a small number of people who are ruining things for everybody else.”

Mr Pennington made it clear he does not believe all young people are responsible and he hopes those who enjoy the use of the park can help protect it.

He said: “We’re currently raising money for a multi-use games area.

“It’s a shame when we’re doing that there are a small number who would damage the park.

“But I know there are a lot of young people who do care about their community and they can play a part.

“If they see anything they are worried about, they should call 1010 and tell the police.”

Monday’s damage left the Friends group and members of the wider community upset.

But thanks to Blackpool Council, the dome has already been repaired.

Karen Pennington, from the Friends group, explained: “The council got in touch saying they’d been cutting some Willow and could provide it to us.

“We arrived on Friday morning to a fantastic fresh supply.

“Not only could we replace the two damaged legs but we’ve been strengthening other parts of the dome.

“It will be as good as new and hopefully, this time, we can make sure it stays that way.”