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Herne Bay: Call for action on freerunners after claims fountain damaged

By Dan Wright

Angry neighbours claim people using Herne Bay seafront to perform stunts are damaging the town’s historic fountain.

Men in their early 20s were seen jumping off walls last weekend as part of the freerunning craze, which is also known as parkour.

Last Sunday the air ambulance was forced to land on the beach after one man injured himself.

Margaret Burns (right) and Colleen Ashwin-Kean by the fountain
Margaret Burns (right) and Colleen Ashwin-Kean by the fountain

Now grandmother-of-two Margaret Burns fears the jubilee fountain in Waltrop Gardens, which was donated to the town in 1888, is being damaged.

“You can see bits have been broken off as people are standing on it to jump off, which is not good,” Mrs Burns said.

“I thought at first they were young boys, but they are adults and they are disrespecting the memorial and jumping through the flower beds.

The air ambulance on Herne Bay beach. Picture: Gerald McCarthy
The air ambulance on Herne Bay beach. Picture: Gerald McCarthy

“It is an area used by people to sit, but nobody has been reading or resting in the gardens because they have been overrun by these people.”

Freerunning is an acrobatic and athletic discipline in which people jump off walls and obstacles.

"These gardens are not the place to do it..." - Margaret Burns

Mrs Burns, 75, who lives in Longmead Close, Greenhill, added: “They are very skilled at what they do and they do acrobatics when they jump, but these gardens are not the place to do it.

“When they were jumping over the flower beds, they were catching their feet on the flowers.

“It’s just something you do not expect to see. We want people to respect the town. The gardens look lovely and we do not want people to be put off.”

Council spokesman Rob Davies said the authority has inspected the fountain.

He added: “We can’t see any damage that needs repairing, but if people have any concerns, we would ask them to get in touch.”

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