Crafters 'gutted' after 'thugs' vandalise positivity word display

Part of the Dereham Community Crafters words project was vandalised - including this part as the town's church

Part of the Dereham Community Crafters words project was vandalised - including this part as the town's church - Credit: Dereham Community Crafters

Members of a community crafters group say they are "gutted" after parts of a campaign to promote positivity were damaged.

The Dereham Community Crafters saw some of its positive word campaign around the town pulled down, ripped, or vandalised just days after putting them up on May 31 and June 1.

The project included 60 words, including ‘community, respect and kindness’ around the town, placed at the MarketPlace, Wrights Walk, and Ellenor Fenn Garden.

Part of the Dereham Community Crafters words project was vandalised - just days after going up

Part of the Dereham Community Crafters words project was vandalised - just days after going up - Credit: Dereham Community Crafters

The words were decorated in a variety of ways - some painted or knitted and others covered in fabric.

The group's co-founder, Judy Rogers, expressed her disappointment at witnessing part of the display ruined - but was not shocked.

“Sadly, I was not surprised as it always happens, but we were still gutted after the work we all put in,” she said.

Some of the Dereham Community Crafters working on the words project

Some of the Dereham Community Crafters working on the words project - Credit: Dereham Community Crafters

“We were working 10 hour days to finish it, then working for three nights with volunteers on the ladders to hang them.

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“We worked so hard, then to see some thug has damaged them you feel absolutely gutted for the people who put in the work."

The group is known for its incredible summer projects of yarn bombing, including last year, where it displayed a 30 foot knitted caterpillar in the town centre. The word project was to break the tradition of a stereotypical yarn bombing.

Dereham Community Crafters add the final touch to the Celebrating Dereham Yarn Bomb - a 32ft caterpi

Dereham Community Crafters add the final touch to the Celebrating Dereham Yarn Bomb - a 32ft caterpillar - Credit: Breckland Council

When news of the vandalism was shared on social media, the people of Dereham were equally as upset.

One person commented: “Words fail me. Thank you all for trying to make Dereham colourful. It is such a shame that the mindless few spoil it for others to carry on your good work.

Unfortunately, similar incidents happened last year, but they were able to recover items thanks to accessible CCTV.

The Dereham Community Crafters words project around the town - including at the town's church

The Dereham Community Crafters words project around the town - including at the town's church - Credit: The Dereham Community Crafters 

The word project was just one part of the group's summer work, which included decorating Ellenor Fenn’s Garden for the jubilee.

The Dereham Community Crafters, which has been going for seven years, will try to return some of the words which have been damaged but might not be able to restore them all to their original location.

Mrs Rogers said the group will change its approach moving forward, with future projects now only appearing at Wrights Walk and Ellenor Fenn Garden, as both areas are covered by CCTV.