The family of a Bilsthorpe boy who drowned on holiday have slammed the ‘mindless’ thieves who hacked down a Christmas tree planted in his memory.
The 7ft tree was planted five years ago on an area of grass next to Kirklington Road, Bilsthorpe, as a tribute to Jack Taylor, the eight-year-old from the village who drowned in a swimming pool accident on a family holiday in Spain in August 2002.
But overnight between Friday and Saturday, heartless thieves chopped through the base of the tree and made off with it while it was still covered in the fairy lights.
Jack’s mother, Lisa, said: “It’s just disgusting. I first heard about it on Saturday morning when a local resident put something on Facebook, I had no idea.
“I didn’t believe it to begin with, we were totally gobsmacked.
“We are devastated, I can’t get my head round it, having mindless idiots doing this.
“Anytime of year is difficult, but it’s very hard at Christmas. Jack loved Christmas.
“He would be 19 now, but he will still be that eight-year-old boy to me.”
ack’s sister Stacey added: “You would not think someone would steal a Christmas tree, especially one planted in someone’s memory.
“It’s emotional because he’s not here, and now the tree has gone.
“It’s always worse for us at Christmas, but you try to get on and manage.
“We not sure if it’s anyone from the village who did it, because everyone around here knows what this tree means.”
But Stacey and Lisa said they have been overwhelmed by the positive the reaction from the community who have left countless messages and phone calls. Shops in the village now set up a collection.
A Christmas tree was first placed on the site in 2002, months after Jack’s death.
There was a tree erected each year until funds were raised by the local community five years ago to plant a permanent tree, which was adopted by Bilsthorpe Parish Council.
Andrea Swallow, chairman of the parish council, said people were left shocked by the theft.
She said: “I was told that one resident wept when she saw it, because it looked so nice this year. To see it grow from a small tree has been fantastic, but people are disgusted by what has happened.
“Somebody has just sawn through it and left the wires on the grass.”
The police have been informed about the theft and are looking into it. However, it was confirmed that the tree was later found dumped in a field in the village.
Anyone with information should ring police on the non-emergency number 101 quoting reference number 345 from 7th December.