"The show must go on" - say Shropshire allotment holders after theft of gazebos

Defiant allotment holders in Shropshire say the show must go on after a break in just days before their biggest fundraising event of the year.

Stolen from the Woodside Allotment shop at sometime on Tuesday night were three top notch gazebos together valued at £240 that were lined up for their big flower and vegetable show on Saturday .

"We are not going to let it dampen our spirits," said Gail Foster, organiser of the big show at the site off Woodside Avenue, in Telford. "The show will go ahead."

Site manager Ian Kerr was the first to discover that the cabin-style shop has been broken into at the 115 plot site. he says a crowbar could have been used to made a hole in the wooden structure to allow the break in to happen.

"They are not cheap gazebos," said Gail. "We will get some replacements but definitely won't be storing them at the site before Saturday's show."

Last year's show raised a whopping £600 for the Woodside Allotments and Leisure Gardeners Association's general funds at the site.

"The show was really popular 15 or 20 years ago and we revived it three years ago," said Gail. Organisation for the event started in March and the committee is looking forward to a good turnout at the allotments from 12 noon to 3pm.

Mark Price, the WALGA secretary, was similarly defiant.

He said: "The show is still going ahead. We will do everything within our power to make sure it is a success, to overcome adversity and come through with a triumph."

Plotholders will be competing for glory in 15 main vegetable categories, including for carrots and cabbages. There will also be five fruit categories and 11 for the best green-fingered flower growers. There are also children's classes and a cookery section.

Members of the public will be able to turn up, there is no entry fee, and contribute to funds by buying raffle tickets and refreshments.

Telford Police asked members of the public to be aware if anyone is trying to sell them a gazebo at a cheap price.

"Be aware if anyone is trying to sell you one at a knocked down price," they tweeted.

Mark added: "Any plot holders who had anything stolen should also contact the police."

The allotment land is owned by The Gorge Parish Council but is run on a day-to-day basis by Woodside Allotments & Leisure Gardeners Association.

Parish council chairman Councillor Alan Taylor said he was disappointed to hear of the thefts.

Councillor Taylor, who has been on the allotments committee for four years, said: "It is disappointing to hear of thefts at the allotments. They are a very well run organisation with a waiting list and are very well supported by the local community.

"There have been break ins over the years there but it has been quiet recently."

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