A group of green-fingered volunteers were doing their bit last week to restore faith in humanity by giving their time to tidy up a garden wrecked by vandals.
At the beginning of July, vandals broke into the garden behind the Salvation Army centre on Marketgate, trashing the carefully tended area, damaging a storage shed and destroying a 30-year-old mural.
Despite an appeal for the vandals to come forward for a cup of tea and a chat by Major Helen A. Young, minister of the Salvation Army in Arbroath, it was not until the centre hosted a Scottish Water information evening that anything was done to help.
By chance, some of the Scottish Water staff overheard a conversation about the incident and they decided to donate their time through their company’s volunteering scheme to fix the place up.
The volunteers spent most of Friday hard at work on the garden, removing damaged items, and generally bringing it back to its former glory.
The Scottish Water team was augmented by their colleagues from Amey, Black and Veatch who are working in partnership on a wastewater infrastructure programme.
Volunteering on the day were Clive Duncan, Paul Milligan, Jeff Windross and Ruaridh MacGregor, ably directed by Major Helen A. Young and aided by Salvation Army Majors Brian & Yvonne Findlay who pitched in and also kept everyone fed and watered.
Major Young said: “Scottish Water were holding an information event here at the hall when the staff found out about the vandalism and wanted to see the damage.
“They immediately said ‘we can help’ and I was just so taken aback, so overwhelmed.
“I cannot commend the staff enough for helping in the garden and also want to commend Scottish Water for allowing staff the time to volunteer in the community. Any company giving staff time to do valuable voluntary hours is a fabulous thing and I wish more companies would do it. The community would be a better place for it.”
Clive Duncan, Scottish Water communications advisor, added: “When Major Young took us out to see the damage caused I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to volunteer to help repair the garden and give it a tidy up. It’s great that my colleagues and myself are able to bring a happy ending to what was an unfortunate event for the charity.”
The garden was for many years under the dedicated care of Mr Don Farrant of the Salvation Army and a well-known figure in Arbroath.
Major Young added: “Mr Farrant took a great interest in the garden and is now 83 and not in good health. I think for him to know that it’s been tidied up again is important.”
Fiona Burley, Scottish Water’s Volunteering Programme co-ordinator, said: “We are very pleased that our team of volunteers are able to help with this important work in the garden at the Salvation Army Community hall in Arbroath.
“Scottish Water’s volunteering programme, launched in 2011, gives each employee up to two paid days leave each year to participate in volunteering activities. In 2015/16, employees contributed 3655 working hours for the benefit of charitable, environment or community work across Scotland.”