Vandals graffiti and torch Wolverhampton park’s stage days before fun day

A stage used for outdoor concerts in a park near Wolverhampton has been torched by vandals – just days after it was refurbished especially for a large community fun day planned for this weekend.

The fire-damaged stage in Hickman Park, Bilston, after vandals attacked at the weekend. Photo: Joy Hazeldine
The fire-damaged stage in Hickman Park, Bilston, after vandals attacked at the weekend. Photo: Joy Hazeldine

The open air theatre in Bilston’s Hickman Park, which dates back to 1960, has been rendered unusable after louts deliberately set fire to the stage at the weekend.

Council bosses had only just revamped it in time for Hope in the Park – an annual event due to take place on Sunday, June 26.

Councillor Linda Leach, who spent months working to get the stage updated, branded those responsible for the damage “mindless scum”.

“The council put a new stage floor in ready for Hope in the Park on Sunday. It was graffitied within a few days and then set on fire, and now it’s completely destroyed. It’s devastating,” she said.

“Sunday’s event is a family day that is put on free every year as a way of bringing the community in the town together. Why do people carry out such cruel and callous acts? I am so angry. They are just mindless scum and have no respect.

“I can’t put into words how I really feel. It’s so hard to get funding these days to do anything because the purse strings are so tight, especially after Covid.

“The revamped stage looked great as well. In the following days some mindless individuals graffitied the entire area. I had arranged for it to be repainted on the morning of the event, but these louts have put paid to that and completely destroyed it.

“Hope in the Park is fantastic for our community and brings so many people together. Now, without a stage and everyone feeling so disheartened, I’m not sure if this will happen,” added Cllr Leach, the council’s cabinet member for adults.

“The group organisers have already spent quite a bit of money hiring generators and equipment, but of course the electrics on the stage have been destroyed and the area is unsafe.

“I can’t emphasise just how much of a devastating blow this is to our community here in Bilston, and especially everyone who had worked so hard to put on this free public event.

“What really worries me is the fact that the low lives who did this are the generation of the future – what on earth are their children going to turn out like?”

“We need to name and shame these individuals. If anyone knows anything I would urge them to email me or contact me in any way. We need to come together and stop those responsible from destroying our green open spaces,” she said.

The attack has caused huge outrage amongst Bilston residents, with many taking to social media to vent their anger and post photos of the damage.

Hickman Park in Wolverhampton Street first opened in 1911 and was restored during 2007-08 using National Lottery and Heritage Lottery funding.

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