A Cherry Tree planted in memory of Jack Caldicott who lived near Bailey Park and was a regular visitor to the park, was found damaged on the morning of Wednesday January 19 with a large portion of the tree left stricken on the field nearby where it was originally planted.
Mr Caldicott’s daughter Yvonne Abbott told the Chronicle that due to his love of nature her father could be seen travelling around the park up to three times a day often accompanied by beloved Yorkshire Terrier dog Robbie.
Mr Caldicott sadly died last October aged 94, and his family decided to contact Monmouthshire County Council to discuss planting a tree in his memory, which the council was fully supportive of.
However within just a few days of being planted near the Bandstand by the council, the top of the sapling had been snapped off and thrown nearby by heartless vandals.
Speaking to the Chronicle, Mr Caldicott’s daughter Yvonne said: “When he passed away it only seemed right that a memorial should be placed in the park for him.
‘‘He loved trees, especially the flowering cherry variety so me and my brothers decided we’d plant a tree in Bailey Park.”
“Our family live away from Abergavenny so as the tree was planted last week we hadn’t had chance to get up and see it, so to find out that the tree has been vandalised is devastating and heart-breaking for us all.”
“We are still getting over Dad’s loss. To some it may only be a tree but to me and my family it is the place where we could go and remember him, and it is very upsetting to think some has been so cruel and shown no respect.”
After being contacted by Ms Abbott, Monmouthshire County Council have swiftly agreed to provide another tree and plant it in a safer area.
Following the act of vandalism, Friends of Bailey Park chairwoman Judith Vicary said: “The Friends of Bailey Park were appalled and ashamed by the cruel destruction of a newly planted Cherry tree to commemorate the life of Jack Caldicott, and send our deepest sympathies to his family.
“We are very grateful to MCC for quickly offering to replace the tree, and to Gavin Trinder from Abergavenny Garden Centre for his concern and help in supplying the tree, and to all the local residents who have shown their support through offers of help.
“We just hope that the perpetrator realises what he or she has done, and is thoroughly ashamed. It is amongst the worst of crimes.”
Concerns have been growing in Abergavenny following a recent rise in anti-social behaviour in the town, with Judith adding that problems with vandalism in Bailey Park are nothing new.
She said: “The town council and the community as a whole are greatly concerned about this anti-social behaviour, but due to lack of financial and human resources there is no easy fix to the problem.”