Charity horses take a tumble as vandals strike

    HOSPICE in the Weald have condemned the ‘heartbreaking’ vandalism of three of their life-size sculpted horses.

    The 24-strong herd of colourfully coated creatures are dotted around key locations throughout the Weald as part of a fundraising drive.

    Last week two of the horses placed by the Watergate in Tonbridge had to be removed after ‘purposeful vandalism’. Then late on Saturday night [August 6] ‘yobs swooped to try to wrench the fibre-glass model from their plinth on Pembury village green’, according the charity.

    Income Generation Director, Nick Farthing, said: “So much brilliant creative work has gone into the designs that it is heartbreaking to have this happen.

    “The horses will be repaired but that is going to cost us money. “Ultimately, all 24 horses will be auctioned off [in October] to raise more money for Hospice in the Weald, so we cannot afford to have this kind of damage.

    “So many people have told us how much they have enjoyed going around Kent to fi nd all the horses. “It is incredibly upsetting that a small minority of people would attempt to ruin what has been a very positive campaign for the majority of the community.”

    Local business quickly leapt to the rescue of the felled horses. Overnight accommodation for the stallions was found at Tonbridge Old Fire Station, before they were taken to the ‘vets’ for recovery.

    While, in Pembury, the team at the Camden Arms took the model in and cleaned up twisted bolts on the plinth to make it safe.

    The pub’s manager Simon Rejbakoz said: “People in Pembury are outraged. The horse has been such a novel attraction on the green and the attack is a real kick in the teeth for the charity and people who have given so much time and effort to the cause.

    “Whoever did that might just as well have come in and stolen the charity box.” It is thought the damage will cost well in excess of £1,000.

    One Facebook follower, Susie Pinder, said: “I am so shocked that such lovely decorated horses, for such a wonderful charity, should be targeted. Trust it is back soon, as it has brought a smile to my face as I’ve driven through the village.”

    Hospice spokesman Nick Farthing added: “We can promise our supporters that the horses will be back on show once they have been repaired. Our Herd of the Hospice campaign has had such a huge response that we don’t want these vandals to deprive people of their pleasure.”