Vandals target open air cathedral
By JANE GARDNER
IF BEXHILL'S Grant Virtue could confront the vandals who damaged a piece of his village's history last weekend he'd tell them to grow a heart.
"They should remember other people worked very hard to establish the Bexhill Open Air Cathedral, and we wish they would respect the beauty and history of it," he said.
Every Sunday Mr Virtue tends to the area to keep it clean for the hundreds of interstate and overseas visitors who come to admire its natural beauty each year.
Last Sunday, however, he arrived to find the entry gate gone, the fences destroyed, and a treasured native he planted 48 years ago uprooted.
"There has been more vandalism in Bexhill in the past 12 months than I have seen in 50 years," he said.
"Every weekend I have to pick up discarded condoms ? yes the place is used for that purpose ? and there is always beer bottle litter."
Only a few weeks earlier residents were shocked to find a burnt-out stolen station wagon discarded outside the cathedral.
Mr Virtue said he suspected it was teenagers who chose the secluded spot to run amok.
"I was very sorry to see the damage because it is maintained by voluntary labour, and a lot of money has gone into it," he said.
Every year up to 40 couples get married at the Bexhill cathedral.