VICIOUS vandals wrecked a garden for people with special needs but determined volunteers refused to let the thugs win.

Staff at The Knowe Community Garden Centre in Auchinleck were devastated when they arrived at work earlier this month to see the space ‘almost destroyed’ after so much hard work.

A group of yobs had rolled a large wire cable drum, which was waiting to be upcycled into a garden table, into the seating area of the Sensory Garden.

The scene was very disheartening for those who put in so much effort to keep the garden run by registered Scottish char ity Auchinleck Community Development Initiative, based in the heart of Auchinleck, looking its best.

But the community rallied round each other and after a social media appeal a neighbour project in Netherthird, NCAT, offered to help.

David Hannah and his team put the bench back together and Pollock’s Farm Equipment offered of parts to get things back into shape.

It really showed what can be done ‘with a little help from our friends’.

With that low point now behind them, Meg Sharp, Horticultural Trainer, and Kaye Hannah, Garden Centre Manager, travelled down to London for the Groundwork Community Awards. Having scrubbed up and left dirty wellies behind in Auchinleck, the ladies checked into the venue for the awards, the luxurious Royal Hourseguards Hotel.

At the award ceremony on the evening of Thursday, November 21, Kaye and Meg were delighted, if a little shocked, to accept the award of ‘Best Community Garden or Green Space’.

“We’re elated to have won our second award this year,” said Kaye – the team had already won Best Community Garden in Shire Housing’s Competition earlier this year. “I am delighted for our Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, local nursery children and school pupils who all contributed to our success,” she continued, “We’re really grateful for everyone who took the time to vote.”