Daffodil devastation: picking flowers will become illegal

Marie Curie community fundraiser Lucy Watson dressed as the charity's mascot Daffy surveying the damage in Gadebridge Park, Hemel Hempstead
Marie Curie community fundraiser Lucy Watson dressed as the charity's mascot Daffy surveying the damage in Gadebridge Park, Hemel Hempstead

Hundreds of daffodils were stolen from Gadebridge Park in the lead up to Mother’s Day, prompting moves to bring in new laws to stop flower thieves.

The Field of Hope display was planted in the Hemel Hempstead park by Dacorum Borough Council to honour the Marie Curie charity in the early 1990s. And the same bulbs had bloomed each spring for more than 20 years – until thieves destroyed the display earlier this month.

Now, Dacorum Borough Council is planning to enforce new local bylaws to make it illegal for people to pick the daffodils in the future.

A spokesman for the local authority said: “It is very sad that people are picking these daffodils as they were planted for Marie Curie.

“We would ask people to respect this special flower display and to respect all our flower displays in the borough.

“We are working to bring in bylaws to our parks in Dacorum so in future we can enforce laws which stop people spoiling our displays.”

Fields of Hope were planted across the country as a nod to cancer support charity Marie Curie, whose symbol is the cheery yellow flower.

The displays also act as a lasting reminder of loved ones who have been lost through terminal illness.

Lucy Watson, community fundraiser for Marie Curie in Hertfordshire, said: “I think it really is a shame as many people in Hemel will have been affected by terminal illness or cared for by Marie Curie’s amazing nurses.

“Dacorum Borough Council have worked hard to give people somewhere to go and remember their loved ones by giving them a beautiful display of daffodils.

“But we know that this is a small minority as the generous people of Hemel Hempstead have already donated over £1,500 at collections for our annual Great Daffodil Appeal.”

The Great Daffodil Appeal is Marie Curie’s biggest annual fundraising campaign and encourages people to give a donation in return for a daffodil pin during the month of March.