Stray defenders call for action after vandals hit cherry trees

The volunteers who spend their lives defending the Stray say it is "soul destroying" to see the damage to cherry trees on Harrogate's cherished parkland.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 5:28 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd August 2021, 5:30 pm
"Soul destroying" - The Stray Defence Association is demanding action over the damage to the cherry trees.

Following news of the damage suffered by at least seven young trees located on Cherry Tree Walk facing York Place, the Stray Defence Association says it attempted to contact Harrogate Borough Council's head of parks and environment without success so far, as has also been the case with the Police, they added.

The appearance of the cherry blossom each year on the Stray is regarded widely as one of the highlights of the Harrogate calendar.

The charity's chair, Judy d'Arcy Thompson, said the SDA was sickened and tired of the damage happening to trees on the Stray which was "soul destroying" they said, especially for families who arranged for trees to be planted in memory of loved ones.

Judy d'Arcy Thompson said: "We are tired of this unpleasant and mindless vandalism. The damage caused is not just ignorant stupidity but also extremely distressing to many, many people.

"Lots of these trees have been planted in memory of people’s loved ones and also victims of thalidomide.

"It is soul destroying for those who have suffered bereavement to witness such wanton mutilation of the trees that give pleasure to so many.

And she continued: "A few years ago, because of disease, the council were proposing to get rid of the cherry trees altogether.

"Knowing the enjoyment they give and what a feature they are of Harrogate in Spring time, The Stray Defence Association worked closely with the council and the trees were saved and have been as glorious as ever.

"To see this wanton destruction by idiotic fools is sickening and saddening."