A FAMILY who spent countless hours making handmade decorations for people to find in woods during lockdown has slammed the parish council for removing them.
Michelle Ainsworth said making the wooden decorations had helped improve her mental health and was an activity she could share with daughter Lacey Sellars (8) and mum Eileen Ainsworth (69).
But Wickersley Parish Council has removed the items over fears they could pose a threat to wildlife
“We go into Wickersley Woods for a walk every day and on one occasion noticed a fairy grotto,” said Michelle, of Thurcroft.
“After seeing the grotto, we began making little decorations to put in the woods as gifts for people to find and as a way to keep spirits up as the lockdown continued.”
The family made hundreds of decorations including fairy doors, fairies, crowns and rainbows.
Michelle created a Facebook page, Fairies and Fantasy in South Yorkshire, which received positive feedback, she said.
But Wickersley Parish Council said it had received a number of queries about various items being left in Wickersley Woods.
Cllr Mark Scott, chair of the woodlands committee for Wickersley Parish Council, said: “The parish council was notified about a number of items being left in the woods including ‘fairy doors’.
“It appeared there were a number of people becoming involved and a number of items were made of material that could pose a threat to wildlife, including plastic items and using small nails/tacks to attach items. A number of items were also being left.”
The parish council warned residents in March that items left without their consent would be removed.
“We are not seeking to ban items or activity as such but, especially at this time of year when many animals are raising young, it was felt necessary to control such activity and issue the statement,” added Cllr Scott.
“We’re always happy to talk to residents, but to date no-one has contacted the council to express any intention of leaving items. Any such contact would be welcome but bearing in mind the conditions noted above.”
In response, Michelle said: “No member of the public has complained to us and we haven’t heard from the council either – it’s ridiculous.”
She added: “We’ve never used plastic or left rubbish lying around. It’s just been us alone putting the items out in the woods, people had been taking the decorations home and we always cleared up afterwards.
“The parish council themselves put out a load of items over Easter, including a big face mask in the woods, which I thought was very poor taste.
“They are allowed to put stuff up, but condemn others – it’s the hypocrisy of it all I don’t agree with.”
The family will continue to make decorations but will now leave them elsewhere, Michelle added.