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Anger as Highland Hospice lights are targeted for a second year

By Jamie Hall

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HEARTLESS vandals have wrecked festive decorations across Inverness – including those at Highland Hospice, which has been targeted for a second year in a row.

Lights in the hospice’s car park on the banks of the River Ness were deliberately cut, leading staff to decide they will no longer place as many decorations outside the building.

Head of fundraising Andrew Leaver said: “Every year we ask our supporters to help us ‘Light up the Highlands’ by sponsoring a light on our Christmas trees across the region.

“We thought it would be lovely to light up the hospice with the lights on our railings and really thought that last year’s vandalism would be a one-off.

“It’s so disappointing to think that someone out there would prefer to see darkness and disappointment at this time of year, rather than light and hope.

“We won’t be putting lights round our car park again but hope that our supporters will continue to light up the rest of the Highlands.”

The hospice’s communications officer Wendy Morgan said staff had been left saddened by the incident.

“It’s incredibly sad,” she said.

“It happened twice last year and we highlighted it then because it was just awful.

“We wanted to give it another go this year but it’s happened again and it’s so disappointing.

“We’re not going to be replacing it this year and we won’t be doing it at all next year.

“It’s a real shame that it’s come to this because the lights bring a lot of Christmas cheer to the patients.

“The lights are so pretty and they really brighten the place up. They make things a little more bearable for people.

“We don’t know why anyone would do something like this.”

Residents in Cradlehall and Westhill were also affected by vandalism after lights were stolen from the community Christmas tree in Cradlehall Court there, in an incident local councillor Duncan Macpherson said was “troubling” and “unacceptable”.

The lights were thankfully replaced by Highland Council in time for Christmas itself.

Depute Inverness Provost Bet McAllister believes the incidents are proof of a worrying trend, following a number of cases of vandalism reported by the Highland News in recent weeks.

“Vandalism just seems to be everywhere at the moment,” she said.

“I don’t think it’s just one person that’s responsible for all the incidents that have been going on around Inverness recently.

“It really is ridiculous. I don’t understand what is going through people’s heads when they do something like this, particularly at a place like the hospice.

“We are trying our best to look after our city.

“If people are caught doing it they will get sympathy from nobody. They don’t realise the impact this has.

“If anyone knows who has done this, please come forward.”

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