Ridge Hill Green desolate after bonfire party attack

Alex Jukes, 8, near to the fire damage at Ridge Hill Green, Lancaster.
Alex Jukes, 8, near to the fire damage at Ridge Hill Green, Lancaster.
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What was a green space for the community has now been branded a “barren wasteland” after a bonfire party attack.

Friends of Ridge Hill Green in Lancaster placed a number of benches a couple of weeks ago after receiving a grant from Incredible Edible as part of Lancaster Green Spaces.

Ridge Hill Green, near Honister Road, Lancaster. The picnic benches before the fire.

Ridge Hill Green, near Honister Road, Lancaster. The picnic benches before the fire.

But residents awoke to discover three of the benches burning on the smouldering remains of a bonfire which entertained so many the night before.

Chrissy Bailey, 59, who lives on Crag Road, couldn’t believe her eyes when she looked out her window on Sunday November 9.

The community had left the fire dying down around 10.30pm on Saturday evening.

Neighbours, children and families had been sat around the bonfire for most of the night.

Mrs Bailey said: “We have had the bonfire on the field for 25 years and we have never had any bother.

“I woke up in the morning and opened the curtains and every one of the benches had gone, we thought somebody had stolen them.

“Somebody must have had some muscle to move all that.”

Friends of Ridge Hill Green have been campaigning to save the field which runs alongside Honister Road and Crag Road from possible housing development.

But now Mrs Bailey feels as though her efforts have gone to waste.

She said: “It has almost made me give up. When I moved into this house the field was a tip, everybody from the estate threw all their rubbish onto it.

“My husband is really upset, we have put a lot of work into this for the community because we have been petitioning to Lancaster City Council not to build on it and now it is just all for nothing.”

Ashton Garden Centre donated two picnic benches to the group for the price of £20 each.

One of the benches was also made by a resident with the other pieces of furniture being contributed from the group’s fundraising efforts.

It will cost approximately £1,000 to repair the damage.

Chris Jukes, 51, lives on Honister Road, and has two daughters Alex, 8 and Abby, 12.

Mr Jukes had to explain to his children what happened to the field they used to play on.

He said: “Alex was really bad, she doesn’t understand. The girls said to me daddy why would somebody do this and think it’s funny?

“They have had some fun at our expense.”

Mr Jukes spent a lot of time bolting the benches together for the community to enjoy.

Mrs Bailey said: “A plastic chair has gone missing so we think they got the fire going again with that and a wheelie bin.

“I have lived here for 30 years, we came here for a better life.”

The bonfire attack has caused a lot of upset and anger within the community and now the group are unsure about the land’s future.

Mr Jukes said: “It was looking like a beautiful garden, now it is just barren, it just looks like a wasteland.”

Police are currently 
investigating and urge 
anyone with any information to come forward and dial 101 or call Crimestoppers 
on 0800 555 111.