A GROUP of students who raised funds to plant a tree in Locke Park found it was set on fire by vandals days before it was due to be unveiled.

Students from the Interact Group at Horizon Community College - which was formed through links with Stainborough Rotary Club - meet for one hour per week to organise fundraising opportunities that will benefit the community.

The students decided to plant an oak tree in Locke Park as part of a campaign to end vandalism in the park.

Barbara Lee, group leader, said: “We recognised the problem with vandalism in the park so we thought that if we at Horizon made a link between the school and the park it might stop the vandalism.

“We thought we would plant an oak tree that would be there for generations.”

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Barbara had organised for the students to unveil the result of their hard work on Tuesday as the tree had to be planted as soon as it reached the park to ensure it would be healthy. But the tree was vandalised and burned before the students were due to see the tree for the first time.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Barbara. “I didn’t know if there was going to be anything for the students to see.”

Fortunately, The Friends of Locke Park agreed to provide another, and the students were able to unveil a beech tree in a different location of the park.

“We got a beech tree that was planted in the part of the park called Beech Grove. When I told the students we were quite upbeat about the whole situation.

“I am really proud of them and what they’ve achieved, they have fulfilled quite a lot of projects now.

“I’ve worked with them for three years and I shall miss them as they get older and leave Horizon.”

The students will be fund-raising for the Rotary Club’s campaign to eradicate polio world-wide by running a stall at Locke Park’ Easter Event on Easter Sunday.