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Michaelswood owners saddened by ‘despicable’ vandalism of donations box

The entrance to Michaelswood.

POLICE are appealing for witnesses after a donation box at the popular Michaelswood memorial garden in Aith was vandalised.

The incident occurred overnight between Friday (3 March) and Saturday in the car park of the woodlands, which were created by Ray and Betty Ferrie in memory of their late son Michael. 

Ray said that he was “more saddened about it rather than angry” after discovering on Saturday morning that the donations box had been emptied and destroyed by “some mindless, despicable moron”.

Hundreds of trees have been planted over the past decade at an attraction which has proved very popular among tourists and local folk. It also features a dinosaur trail, a pirate ship and a picnic area.

“We don’t know who it was, and it’s in the hands of the police, but it was perpetrated during the night, during hours of darkness,” Ray said.

“They managed to damage the donations box beyond repair. Now we’re going to have to put in a CCTV camera, because we’re duty-bound to protect people’s donations.

“You hate to think of that kind of thing going on in Shetland, that there’s somebody in Shetland like that.”

Fortunately not too much was stolen as the box is emptied regularly and there tend to be fewer visitors to the woodlands at this time of year.

Ray said the couple were heartened by the amount of goodwill shown by the wider community, with many eager to chip in towards the £50 cost of a new donations box.

“It’s amazing the response from the public,” he said. “We’re very heartened by the community, everyone’s annoyed and expressing their annoyance and wanting to help pay for the damage, to help put it right again.

“So it restores your faith in humanity when you see how many good people there are. I always say that in a barrel of good apples there’s always just one bad one.”

In a post on the memorial garden’s Facebook page, Ray added that they were “undaunted by this setback, we are open for business, and planning for the future” and looking forward to some “really positive projects at Michaelswood this year”.

  • Anyone with information is asked to contact the police by dialling 101, calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or attending Lerwick Police Station.