Park theatre rebuilt in time for fun day after vandals torch newly restored stage

The fire-damaged stage in Hickman Park, Bilston, after vandals attacked at the weekend. Photo: Joy Hazeldine
The fire-damaged stage in Hickman Park, Bilston, after vandals attacked at the weekend. Photo: Joy Hazeldine

The future of this year’s Hope in the Park looked bleak after the stage used by it and other outdoor concerts at Bilston’s Hickman Park, near Wolverhampton, was set on fire by vandals, just days after it was refurbished.

But the event – organised by Churches Together and involving schools and community groups – can now go ahead on Sunday after John Milne of the Outdoor Staging Company stepped in to provide a temporary stage free of charge.

Bilston North councillor Linda Leach was one of many people who had spent months working to get the stage updated, and when it was attacked, branded those responsible for the damage “mindless scum”.

But today she said words could not express how wonderful she felt to know that the event could now go ahead.

She said: “It is just wonderful news and for something good like this to come out of what was a devastating situation really does restore my faith that basically most people are good.

“This is a great event that has been going on for 15 years in a park that is for the community, and now they will be able to come out and enjoy it once more where 24 hours ago it looked like it was finished for this year.

“I am so grateful to John for coming forward to do this free of charge – what will happen afterwards with rebuilding the stage again remains to be seen but the immediate future for the event is bright.”

She also praised Jim Sharma of Wednesfield Radio Cabs who had called to say he would cover any of the costs associated with getting the fun day running again.

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