Carnival queen's float destroyed
THE Beccles carnival queen's float has been smashed to smithereens by vandals, just days before an important engagement.Jenny Williams is due to represent the town at Lowestoft Carnival on Sunday, but her attendance was thrown into doubt after the float, which was being held at Beccles Quay, was discovered in pieces last Friday evening following an act of vandalism suspected to have been motivated by theft of the cast-iron panels on the gazebo.
THE Beccles carnival queen's float has been smashed to smithereens by vandals, just days before an important engagement.
Jenny Williams is due to represent the town at Lowestoft Carnival on Sunday, but her attendance was thrown into doubt after the float, which was being held at Beccles Quay, was discovered in pieces last Friday evening following an act of vandalism suspected to have been motivated by theft of the cast-iron panels on the gazebo.
The cast-iron gold gazebo on the float was unbolted and bent, two chairs smashed to pieces, the float flooring ripped up, the sign broken in two, the decorations stolen, the light board and trellis obliterated and the trailer tyres slashed.
Jenny, who had another close call with crime at the weekend when she spotted shoplifters at her workplace in Norwich, said: “I couldn't believe it, I'm devastated. I thought, 'what's wrong with everyone?' It's nasty and horrible, now it's ruined for us.”
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The float had been decorated in pink, which is Jenny's favourite colour, and was designed to appeal to the new carnival queen's tastes.
But Jenny does not think it was a personal attack: “It's half term, and I think it was probably just bored kids wanting to vandalise something. I think it would have happened if it was anyone's float. It's such a shame, I was so chuffed with it.”
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Carnival secretary Yvette Tackley, who helped decorate the float with her mother and carnival vice-chairman Annette, said: “When I arrived at the quay I could not believe the damage caused. I was completely disgusted that anyone would even consider destroying this. My mother and I spent many hours preparing and decorating the float.”
The destruction of the float threatened to plunge the Beccles Carnival Committee's plans into jeopardy as they frantically sought another mode of transport for the carnival queen and princesses.
However despite vowing to attend the Lowestoft Carnival parade “on a moped” if no other transport were available, Jenny will now be arriving in a carriage thanks to kind offers from local companies.
A carriage pulled by two black horses has been donated by Supreme Carriages of Diss for Jenny to travel on, and the princesses Katie Lovegrove and Eleanor Kay will be travelling in a convertible supplied by Retro Recruitment of Beccles.
Carnival vice-chairman Annette Tackley said: “We have been inundated with offers to help us, it's been great. We're very relieved.
“Lowestoft is an amazing experience for the girls. They enjoyed Beccles, but Lowestoft is a much bigger event, you get 1000s of holiday makers and because they're on their holidays they're a bit more fun.”
The vandalism has been reported to police, who have suggested that the theft of the cast-iron panels on the gazebo may have been a motive. There has been an increase in metal thefts, from road signs to roofing lead, because of rising scrap metal prices.
The organisers are pleading for anyone who can help to get in touch.
Anyone who can help with repairs and removal is asked to contact Annette Tackley on 01502 715671.
Anybody with any information should contact Suffolk police on 01986 835300.