Great Britain

The best pictures as hundreds join together to 'reclaim Bute Park' after Cardiff beauty spot was targeted by vandals

Hundreds of people have joined forces to reclaim Cardiff's iconic Bute Park after a recent spate of incidents in the area.

The much-loved park is the green heart of the capital and has long been an valuable resource for those who live and work in the city, particularly during lockdown.

However, recent weeks have seen the park plagued by a number of serious incidents - from murder inquiries to sexual assaults and, most recently, extensive vandalism - which have led to questions being asked about its safety.

Read more: See all our Cardiff stories on our dedicated homepage for the city

Three people have been charged with the murder of father-of-two Dr Gary Jenkins, who died 16 days after being attacked in the park in the early hours of July 20, while just five days earlier, a woman was raped in the grounds of the park by a 20-year-old man who has since admitted the attack.

Last week, the park was subject to a "dark and sinister" attack of vandalism, in which more than 50 trees were destroyed between Blackweir Bridge and Pettigrew Tearooms, while plants, planters, and manhole covers were all broken and bins were ripped from the concrete. The attack caused thousands of pounds worth of damage, while police are yet to catch those responsible.

But while these incidents have shocked and saddened those who hold the park dear, it has also made them more determined to fight back with positivity and reclaim it as a safe and accessible green space.

After making an emotional plea to help find the vandals responsible, Melissa Boothman, owner of the Secret Garden cafe in the park, organised the 'Reclaim Bute Park' event as a "friendly show of solidarity and resistance".

Around 300 people joined together to walk around the park, led ably by a local Salsa band, before reconvening for a community picnic outside the cafe. People of all ages were out enjoying the sunshine, with many carrying posters that read 'This is a safe space'.

"What we've done today is provide a counteraction to the negative events that have been happening in the park and around Cardiff recently," said Melissa. "A lot of people feel angry about what's been going on and I think can often feel quite helpless about it too.

"So this was all about bringing the community back together and joining forces for the greater good. Today we've seen the beautiful energy and positivity that Bute Park is all about and I think we've helped to strengthen the community. With a stronger community, you bring back checks and balances, and I think that is so important for society."

"We're working on having more events for the future, so hopefully they will help to make the park even safer for everyone."

Check out the best photos from today's event below:

Football news:

Porto winger Luis Diaz is Interesting to Chelsea, Bayern, Real Madrid, Newcastle. Compensation - 80 million euros
Cristiano Ronaldo: My role in the team is to score goals and help with experience. I like to make people happy
Arteta pro 3-1 with Aston Villa: Happy with how Arsenal dominated. That's how we should play
Ole Gunnar Sulscher: I enjoy coaching at Manchester United and life
Patrice Evra: I want to understand where racists come from. They are not born. Perhaps these people are traumatized
The Saint-Etienne match started an hour later due to protesting fans. They threw flares and burned holes in the goal net
Pope Francis thanked Messi for the autographed PSG T-shirt