THE CHAIRMAN of the Droitwich Waterways (Pamela May) Trust has slammed the vandals who destroyed the Wych Barge in Vines Park.
The structure will now be taken away by Wychavon District Council and not be replaced.
Margaret Rowley said: “The vandalism and the fact it is not going to be replaced is devastating news.
“We hoped the Wych Barge would be here for a lot longer.
“It was very popular – I would always see families picnicking there when I walked through Vines Park.”
The structure has been left with holes after vandals kicked the wood panelling and abusive graffiti has consistently been scrawled on it since its installation.
Damage sustained to the lettering, paintwork, timber and board last July was repaired with the council, and taxpayers, picking up the bill.
The replica Wych Barge was officially launched on April 14, 2007, by then Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff who described unveiling it as ‘one of his best days in his 15 years as the area’s Member of Parliament’.
It was created as part of the restoration of the town’s canals to link two of the most important aspects of Droitwich history, salt and the waterways.
The project was made possible thanks to a £50,000 grant from ITV’s The People’s Lottery which was determined by a television viewers’ vote.
The barge, installed by volunteers, had the dimensions of an original Wych Barge, boats built to transport salt from Droitwich to sea ports.
The structure was then revamped by Wychavon District Council in 2011 to celebrate the restoration of the canals.
There were also other vandalism attacks over the same weekend with Abbey Park, Evesham, and the Memorial Garden, Abbey Park, Pershore, also being targeted.
Lynn Stevens, Wychavon’s senior parks and greenspace officer, said: “It is extremely disappointing to see our lovely town parks have been the target of such extensive and consistent vandalism.
“Every time this happens it costs the public money, in this case thousands of pounds, which could be better spent on investing in the parks.”
Anyone with any information should call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.