Mindless vandals in Exmouth destroy showstopper toppers raising ‘vital’ funds for Hospiscare

Mindless vandals have vandalised hours of fundraising effort in Exmouth, thieving and destroying post box toppers knitted for Hospiscare.

Earlier this year Clare Suttie, from Exmouth, a Hospiscare supporter, organised the Mail Trail, a route of 40 knitted and crocheted 3D sculptures – toppers for the post boxes across the town.

But six of the knitted yarn bomb creations, to commemorate Hospiscare’s 40th birthday, have been stolen, damaged or destroyed, leaving those who volunteered their time to make the toppers feeling ‘disheartened’.

A green woolly dinosaur, created to celebrate Exmouth’s location on the Jurassic Coast, was ripped from its base and had to be ‘painstakingly’ replaced with a new purple version; octopus and pufferfish toppers were stolen from Drakes Avenue, in Brixington; a clownfish and turtle topper was pinched from Withycombe Village Road and a seagull model went missing from a seafront post box topper.

A stolen ice cream sundae topper was found and returned, Hospiscare said.


A green woolly dinosaur, created to celebrate Exmouth’s location on the Jurassic Coast, was ripped from its base.
Photo: The Mail Trail.

Trail organiser Clare urged anyone finding vandalised toppers to contact her through the trail’s Facebook page – The Mail Trail Exmouth Postboxes.

She said: “It’s so disheartening for everyone involved to see the toppers damaged or going missing.

“So many hours of work go into them and they’re there to raise vital funds for a brilliant local charity and to bring a bit of fun and joy to local residents and passers-by.”

She added: “I’m also concerned that they could hurt someone as they’re constructed with wires, staples and glue.”

Volunteers have spent hours knitting or crocheting the toppers.
Photo: The Mail Trail.

Over the past several months, dozens of crafters dedicated their time, effort and skills to creating 40 toppers – almost double the number made for the event in the previous year.

Local businesses showed their support for the charity by sponsoring each post box on the trail.


One of the imaginative designs in Exmouth raising funds for Hospiscare.
Photo: The Mail Trail.

 In 2021 By the Sea-themed toppers made by Hospiscare’s ‘wonderful supporters’ raised more than £5,000 for the charity.

This year’s event returned for the summer holidays in a bid to match last year’s fundraising total, boosting Hospiscare’s ‘vital’ service in Devon.

  • Trail maps showing the locations of the toppers are available from shops in Exmouth. Trail donations can be made through the official JustGiving page.

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