Heartless vandals destroy a year’s worth of harvest planted by disabled people

1 July 2014

by Jane Compton

I write this with a heavy heart. Ten days ago I was devastated to discover that our much-loved gardens at Bells Piece in Farnham had been trashed by vandals. A year's worth of harvest, lovingly planted and nurtured by a group of disabled people, destroyed in a single act of vandalism.

This has left many of us in tears. Here at Bells Piece we are very proud of our horticulture project. More than 30 disabled people are supported to grow, choose, prepare and cook nutritional meals for a healthy life. It gives them a wonderful sense of ownership and pride.

Visitors coming to see us will no longer be able to enjoy the yellow sunflowers smiling at them as they drive into our home — a greeting that has become a tradition. The vandals have snapped all the heads off.

Rhubarb plants were pulled up and thrown around the paddock. This valuable produce enables us to make jam which we sell in our shop. This helps us to raise enough money to buy more seeds. Our potato harvest, which is a staple ingredient in many of the dishes we use to cook, has also been ripped out.

James at Bells Piece holding a pumpkinA group of disabled people from Bells Piece recently learnt how to make a potato salad with broad beans and grilled courgettes — all of which they had grown themselves. I can’t describe the pleasure on their faces as they sat down together to eat it. Nurturing a vegetable from seed and then learning how to cook it into a nutritious meal has changed their lives.

This mindless destruction has not just had an immediate effect on us. Much of what we were cultivating would have been used throughout the year. For example, the cut flower seeds we had planted in our raised beds would have been used to make wreaths for Christmas.

It has been very upsetting for the disabled people who are part of Bells Piece. This project has been their lifeline and they get so much out of it. We all do.

But out of this bad situation something good has happened. We have seen how much we are valued by the lovely Farnham community. People have donated plants and offered to help us. All this support is amazing and we are so grateful.

However, we still need more help to rebuild our beautiful gardens at Bells Piece. To help us do this, we have set up a fundraising appeal to buy a security system that will stop this devastating vandalism happening again. It will also enable us to replace tools and buy new crops and seeds. We are grateful for any donation that will help us to continue this much-loved project. 

  • £5 could buy a replacement rhubarb plant or cut flower plant
  • £10 could buy three bags of compost
  • £15 could buy gardening tools

If we raise £350 we could buy CCTV cameras to help make the garden more secure.

Please donate now to help stop this terrible act of vandalism ever happening again.

Jane Compton is a senior support worker at Bells Piece activity and skills group.


I am from Farnham and run a website called dadzclub.com. I used to volunteer in IT at BP. I would like dadzclub to donate £350 for the CCTV required. Thank you.

Thank you Craig! We've removed your mobile number for your privacy, but have forwarded your very generous offer to the team at Bells Piece.

I went to make a donation but you can only pay via PayPal not by credit/debit card. I don't have a PayPal account because of their costs, and will not open one just for this, sorry.

If you opened a JustGiving page they can take payment in far more ways and you will increase your opportunities to raise funds!

Hi Kate, thanks for your comment. You can donate by credit or debit card through our donation page. After filling your details you are taken to the PayPal service to process the payment, and on that screen you'll see an option to 'Pay with a debit or credit card'. You don't need a PayPal account to use that option.

This is appalling and must be so upsetting to all those who have worked so hard. I fail to understand the mindset of these hooligans. If they are caught they should be made to put back what they have destroyed. Wish you luck with your appeal and the hard work ahead of you to regain what has been lost.

Hello I am talking to the prince's trust team to see if we can do something to help you again as it was our hard work and it just feels right we should help again

Not sure if you remember but i was part of the Prince's Trust, The one's who built the raised allotment plots. I currently can't donate any money but i am more that happy to try and round up the old gang and see if we could help re-build or fund raise to help.
If you are interested in the help please email me.
Jan Aston

Hi Paul and Jan! Thanks so much for the offer of help. We'll pass your details on to Bells Piece.

Good afternoon,

As part of our community outreach program, Miracle-Gro would like to help out with a donation of free compost for you. We can be contacted on 01483 410210 .

Fantastic, thanks Vicky and Miracle-Gro!

Hi there,

I would love to donate some vegetable seeds if you would have them!

Can you let me know an address to post them too if wanted?

Thank you,

Hi Rowan - thank you! Here are the contact details for Bells Piece: Hale Road Farnham Surrey GU9 9RL. Telephone: 01252 715138. Do please check first what kind of seeds they need!

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