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Charity volunteers have replaced a rare tree that was destroyed by “mindless” vandals in an Ilford park.

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The 9ft liquidambar tree was planted by schoolchildren in South Park last year, but it was found snapped in half and dumped in August.

Park users hope its replacement, planted on Tuesday, will last for longer.

Anne Hoad, of the South Park Users Group, said members will be keeping an eye on it to guard against more “wanton vandalism”.

She added: “I was in tears when I saw it – why would someone damage a tree?

“The sad thing is that it happened on a Sunday in the summer.

“There were lots of people around because it was a lovely sunny day and no one said anything.

“But it’s lovely to have it back.”

Trees for Cities donated the plant as part of schemes in parks across Redbridge “for future generations to enjoy”.

A spokesman said they do not always replace vandalised trees but did in South Park because of the “care and hard work” by the users group.

The society is planning further improvements in the park this year, including a wildflower meadow and pond-dipping area.

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