Society grassed-off at theft of ride-on mower

KIRSTY MCMURRAY
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2012
tdn train stand
JONATHAN CAMERON
Waitara Railway preservation society chairman Denyse Bettridge from the says losing a mower is "like losing our left arm."

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Railway volunteers in Waitara are going to have a hard time keeping the tracks clear after their lawnmower was stolen last weekend.

Waitara Railway Preservation Society chairman Denyse Bettridge said it was gut wrenching to discover the ride-on mower had been taken.

"It's like losing our left arm," he said.

The mower, which the society received funding for two years ago, was taken from a locked shed in Waitara on Saturday night.

"It wasn't a random act. Someone knew where it was and went and took it. They didn't touch anything else," he said.

The $5000, red Greenfields mower is used to keep the extensive lawns around at the society's Waitara Rd and Queen St sites under control.

"We have worked very hard as a dedicated group to add value as a tourist venue for Waitara and Taranaki as a whole in cleaning up what was an overgrown and rundown area in Waitara to the point where locals would come over and have their lunch."

Mr Bettridge said the society had just been accepted into next year's Fringe Garden Festival in the places of interest category.

"We are developing gardens, a park area with a lot of donated trees by two tree nurseries and planted out the wetland area that is adjacent to our railway."

He said he didn't know what they would do without the mower.

The grass around the railway tracks at Queen St takes three hours to mow alone.

"It hurts us and it hurts the people who give us money and the people of Waitara who we are doing this for."

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