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Harleston community group rally together after town centre vandalised

A Harleston councillor has praised the town’s residents, who rallied to restore the high street after it was vandalised last week.

Almost a dozen residents arrived to clean up The Thoroughfare on Wednesday morning – hours after an incident where plants were unearthed from a planter and strewn across the high street, causing £3,000 of damage.

Lizzy Pegg, councillor for Redenhall with Harleston Town Council, said that, despite being “gutted” by the initial incident, the overwhelming response from residents and businesses typified “what Harleston is really about”.

Residents rallied together to clean up the high street this week. (36929120)
Residents rallied together to clean up the high street this week. (36929120)

“When we all woke up in the morning and saw the devastation, we were gutted, but the positivity and community spirit was back instantly and we just carried on,” said Cllr Pegg, who helped with the clean-up effort.

“Residents either paid out of their own pockets to buy some new plants, or brought some from their own gardens to replant.

“We brushed ourselves off and got on with it, which is what we’re good at doing in Harleston – if we’ve got a town that’s united, that says more about us than anything.”

A number of businesses also offered to help with the recovery – nearby garden centre Pura Vida offered to supply plants free of charge, while the owner of JD Young Hotel, in the Market Place, offered to cover any costs.

“They offered to come down and fix it free of charge but, within hours, residents had already brought them and planted them themselves,” said Miss Pegg.

“It’s really nice to think now that some of the plants were planted by members of the community.

“We fixed it together, because we’re all in it together and we have been from the start.”

Two men, 22-year-old Liam O’Connor and 24-year-old Tyler Meadows, who are both local to the area, have been charged on suspicion of criminal damage and released on police bail.

Miss Pegg urged residents not to react to the incident with fury, but instead promote “kindness and togetherness”.

She said: “Negativity is not what we need in the middle of a pandemic – we need to be kind to one another.

“And we need to make sure there’s not a witch-hunt – that’s not what Harleston is about. We promote kindness and togetherness.”

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