Volunteers in Beeston have reattached dozens of purple ribbons to a bridge in memory of 12-year-old Owen Jenkins – after they were ripped off in a ‘disrespectful’ act of vandalism.
Owen, from Beeston Rylands, died after he seen going under the water near Beeston Marina on Monday, July 10.
He is said to have gone into the river to save a friend and his body was recovered by emergency crews four hours later.
Jolene Haywood, 41, is a self-employed florist and friend of the family who lives near Beeston Weir, where Owen died.
She has made thousands of purple ribbons – Owen’s favourite colour – which residents have attached to their homes to show respect and honour his memory. The idea is to create a sea of purple for his funeral on Saturday, August 5, at Bramcote Crematorium.
But Ms Haywood says around 30 attached to Plessey Bridge, on Meadow Road, have been pulled off and dumped at the bottom of the bridge over the last two days.
She and a group of volunteers spent the morning (July 27) attaching new ribbons.
She said while the group attached the new bows, several people driving past stopped to ask to take some of the ribbons to pay tribute to Owen, and one man made a donation to his family on the spot.
But Jolene said: “They were pulled off the bridge. I received a couple of inboxes from people saying they found bows which had literally been dumped at the bottom of the bridge – which were yanked off.
“One or two people have spoiled it for everyone else. It’s so disrespectful to Owen, Nicola, Gary and his family and everybody who has volunteered and put in effort.
“Someone deliberately pulled them off. There is still the bits tied around the poles.”
Jolene says she and her daughter Chloe have made between 6,000 and 7,000 bows and many local shops have asked to stock them for residents to collect.
She is working to make more in time for Owen’s funeral and will deliver a batch to shops next week, after being bombarded with offers of help.
Jolene added: “It has gone from me and my daughter making bows. We’ve named it Owen’s Army as that many people are helping and distributing them.”