Vandals burn down Grantham allotment of green-fingered fund-raiser for hospice

Joy Wilson at her burnt out allotments, where she had been growing produce for the local hospice. Photo: Toby Roberts.
Joy Wilson at her burnt out allotments, where she had been growing produce for the local hospice. Photo: Toby Roberts.
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A fund-raiser has been left devastated after her prized allotment, where she was growing produce for the local hospice, was broken into and burnt to the ground.

On turning up to her allotment off Maltings Lane last Thursday, Joy Wilson was shocked to discover that the place had been raided and set on fire, leaving nothing but ash.

The suspected arson has completely wrecked Joy's fund-raising allotment. Photo: Toby Roberts.

The suspected arson has completely wrecked Joy's fund-raising allotment. Photo: Toby Roberts.

“I’ve lost everything that I had at the allotment. The shed and greenhouse have been totally destroyed and all the tools, seeds and plants I had in them gone.”

The 59-year-old added: “They ripped up the wooden fence border that was around the beds and piled it up on the shed, so the fire was obviously deliberate. They wanted a big fire.”

Her son-in-law Paul Dexter was outraged when he heard the news, and contacted the Journal. “She loves going down to that allotment, and she did it all for charity.”

Ms Wilson, who lives in Gonerby Hill Foot, reported the incident to the police who have since been to the site to investigate the damage. A meeting between allotment holders has also taken place, where fear was expresed that others could be targeted too.

To make matters worse, Ms Wilson was actually using her allotment to grow produce to sell on for charity. She is an assistant manager at Grantham’s Boundary Mill store, whose staff have been involved in a year-long fund-raising drive for St Barnabas Hospice.

To date they have raised in the region of £4,000, and on her own Ms Wilson has contributed more than £1,000 after deciding to set up a stall in the foyer of Boundary Mill and sell fruit and veg from her much-loved allotment.

Well aware of Ms Wilson’s fund-raising stall and its success, St Barnabas’ corporate fund-raiser Tina Dingley expressed her dismay on hearing of the destruction.

Speaking on behalf of St Barnabas Hospice, Grantham, she said:“We are extremely saddened to hear about this incident and can’t understand why anyone would want to do such a thing.

“Joy has worked so hard during this past year helping to raise funds for the Hospice, and we really hope this won’t deter Joy from carrying on her charitable work in the future.

“Every penny raised for the Hospice goes towards helping and supporting patients and their families in our local community who are living with life limiting illness, as all our services are provided free of charge.”

With the Boundary Mill team set to continue their fund-raisers each year for different charities, Ms Wilson is keen to continue growing produce for good causes once the allotment is repaired. She has already purchased a replacement greenhouse, but would appreciate help from anyone with any gardening items or expertise to spare, and in particular heras fencing to help protect the plot. If you can help, she asks if you can get in contact via the Journal (see contact details above).

Anyone with information on the incident, who witnessed anything in the area overnight between Wednesday, January 20 and Thursday, January 21, should call police on 101 quoting incident number 398 of 21/1/15.