Cancer charity 'saddened and shocked' by overnight vandalism

The Pink Ladies Cancer Support Group had erected the bench as part of a campaign to highlight the dangers of commercial weedkillers that are impacting human health and endangering bees

Cancer charity 'saddened and shocked' by overnight vandalism

Some of the Pink Ladies group pictured on the bench and below vandalism from this morning.

The Pink Ladies Cancer Support Group has expressed sadness and shock after a project to highlight the dangers of weedkillers was damaged overnight.

The group had erected a wooden bench and flower boxes in front of the historic Free Derry Corner to raise awareness of the health risks posed by pesticides and to call on statutory agencies to find healthier alternatives.

As well as health risks, it also aimed to promote the need to nurture the local bee population which was why a bench and flowers were temporarily set-up in front of the famous landmark last week.

Visitors made use of it during the good weather to get their photos taken.

However, overnight flower boxes were tipped over, the seat was pulled out of the way and a message was written on the wall.


Jacquie Loughrey, Education and Prevention Officer at the Pink Ladies, doesn't understand why somebody decided to target the project.

She said: "This greatly saddens the Pink Ladies Cancer support group, a group that works tirelessly to support the whole community after a cancer diagnosis.

"This campaign is an attempt to highlight the dangers of using pesticides/weedkiller and the link to a cancer called Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

"It’s a joint project with an environmental community group Triax to encourage more planting of wildflowers/bulbs to bring back our bee population and make the community area more attractive to live in.

"The flowers were an indication of what could be done in the The Bogside and Brandywell area without continually spraying weedkiller that is a threat to our health and the bee population."

The Pink Ladies have written to the Chief Executives of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and the Education Authority,
together with the Chair of the Health and Education committees, asking that they ensure that their organisations do likewise.

Ms Loughrey continued: "We are also developing an awareness campaign for residents, schools, gardeners, landlords and statutory agencies in the Northwest to inform them of the dangers of using Glyphosate/Samurai and to urge them to consider the use of alternatives.

"In the weeks and months to come we will be rolling out this work and we are only too willing to meet with anyone who would like to discuss this issue.

"The risks posed by the use of Glyphosate, a herbicide are 1 now well known and we are convinced that only its complete replacement will suffice.

"We are particularly concerned about its use in schools around the city and the spraying around the base of trees, verges, and walkways in public areas.

"There is now strong evidence of links to A day of reckoning for Roundup - Pesticide Action Network UK, and we believe there is enough evidence to link poor human health to this hazardous chemical."

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