YOUNG cadets in Witney have stepped up to raise money for a new Remembrance oak tree after the one planted last year was snapped in an “atrocious” act of vandalism.

Town council officials discovered the broken tree at The Leys recreation ground only one day after the 2015 Remembrance Day service in the town centre on Sunday.

They were shocked by the damage and prepared to find several hundreds of pounds for a new tree.

But Witney Air Cadets leader Mike Caffrey beat them to it, telling the council the cadets will raise the funds. It is thought a new tree would cost £200.

Flight Lieutenant Caffrey said: “Given that this happened on Remembrance Sunday, when our cadets were carrying out the ultimate act of remembrance, it is atrocious that some mindless youths were vandalising this tree.

“We were very cross to hear about it as we thought the youth of Witney would be tarnished.

“We don’t want the council to have to pay for this. They paid for it last year.”

Flt Lt Caffrey approached his cadets to ask how they could raise the money and was overwhelmed by their responses.

He added: “They said we could do a raffle, an auction or weed people’s gardens. They didn’t suggest just standing outside WH Smith asking for money.”

Police said they were called to a report of people damaging trees on Sunday. A tree was found snapped and officers are investigating.

Mayor of Witney, Councillor Jim King, who is president of the ATC, said: “This is absolutely appalling. I hope the vandals who did this are proud of themselves.

“My very big thankyou goes to the ATC for offering to replace the tree. I’m so proud to be their president. They are a credit to the town.”

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