A tree planted in memory of a schoolboy has been vandalised, leaving his family heartbroken.
Jamie Cartwright died from an infection caused by dust from building work inside Birmingham Children’s Hospital while he was receiving follow-up treatment after twice overcoming leukaemia.
The nine-year-old died in August last year and a tree was planted in his memory at Walsall Arboretum in his memory.
But it has now been vandalised and council bosses have been forced to remove it.
Jamie’s uncle Danny Loundes, aged 32, said: “We are completely heartbroken by it. We are angry and hurt.
“Everyone is still raw, especially being so soon after the inquest. We can’t understand why anyone would do this.
“We are devastated. The staff at the arboretum have been really supportive and said the tree had been growing well.
“But we are now told that it has to be removed because it so badly damaged.”
The sweet chestnut tree was planted on what would have been Jamie’s 10th birthday in January, when more than 100 family and friends gathered to release 300 balloons into the sky.
Bark had been ripped off the tree, along with another that was planted to commemorate the start of the First World War.
Walsall Council leisure boss, Councillor Anthony Harris, said: “There have been a number of despicable acts of vandalism over recent weeks where the bark has been ripped off trees in the arboretum.
“One of those targeted was a tree planted by the family of Jamie Cartwright, which unfortunately will have to be removed because of the amount of damage caused. Another of the trees targeted was planted to commemorate the start of the First World War.
“Officers have spoken to Jamie’s family and have offered to replace the tree.
“Police are aware of what has taken place and I would urge anyone who notices anyone acting suspiciously, or has any information to share with them, to contact them on 101 so we can put a stop to these deplorable acts of wanton vandalism.”
It has since introduced new policies, which Jamie’s family said they welcomed and hoped would be ‘properly adhered to’ in the future.
The Little Bloxwich CE Primary pupil was first diagnosed with leukaemia in 2006 when he was just two years old.
After intense chemotherapy he went into remission and his family believed he had beaten the disease.
But almost seven years later, a couple of days after Christmas 2012, they were given the distressing news that the condition was back. Jamie, of Rischale Way in Rushall, endured more bouts of chemotherapy before undergoing a bone marrow transplant thanks to his 14-year-old brother Aaron who was a perfect donor match.