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The astronaut built as part of Gillingham’s entry to the South West in Bloom competition has been damaged after what police described as a ‘drunken dare’.

The town’s CCTV cameras recorded how the spaceman was removed from his usual spot on Station Road last weekend and taken to a local pub. Its legs were damaged in the process of the prank.

In a Facebook posting Dorset Police said the incident had apparently resulted from a ‘drunken dare’ and added: ‘CCTV captured his journey and the offender is now helping police with their enquiries.’

The astronaut – which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing – was made by staff at Gillingham Town Council. Town clerk Julie Hawkins said: ‘The person concerned is very remorseful and will be formally writing an apology and will pay for the damage.’

Mrs Hawkins said they were particularly ‘disappointed’ as the astronaut is due to be a guest of honour at a children’s event at Gillingham Library this Saturday. At 2pm the library is hosting a premiere of an animated film created by the children of Gillingham with Artist-in-Residence, James Price called ‘To Infinity!’ (see details of event here).

‘We will be doing our best to make sure the spaceman can still go though he may have to be taken in a wheelchair,’ said Mrs Hawkins.

UPDATE 6.30pm Friday
The spaceman has been given a ‘temporary repair’ and is now at the library ready for Saturday’s event.

‘The team here have been great, they worked flat out during the lunch hour,’ said Julie Hawkins. ‘We just didn’t want to disappoint the children.  The spaceman is standing up again!’

Gillingham astronaut
The astronaut in happier times this summer.
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