The damaged remains of the Kewpie doll
The damaged remains of the Kewpie doll "Jacaranda Jill" set alight in Market Square Adam Hourigan

SUPPORT: Community rallies for festival after doll vandalism

IT WAS a random act of vandalism that has joined the Clarence community in condemnation, but in true festival spirit, the fire that engulfed the skirt of "Jacaranda Jill" has brought waves of support to help fix it.

Festival manager Mark Blackadder said that he has been bombarded with offers of support from people willing to get the new icon of the Jacaranda Festival back in shape.

"It certainly shows how well-loved Jacaranda Jill is, and it's really great to see the community take ownership of the doll," he said.

"We've had offers from Spotlight to provide material to rebuild the skirt, and members of the community coming together to help redo the skit and fix it for next year. Everyone's really happy to come together."

READ: Vandals set fire to iconic Jacaranda Jill doll in 'despicable' act

Clarence Valley Anglican School teacher Michelle Vidler, was among those to put her hand up to help rebuild the skirt and said there had already been plans in work to offer to build Jill a new purple skirt for next year before the incident.

"I was talking with (Toast owner) Judy Hackett at the ball that it'd be a good idea to try and make her a purple skirt, and we'd suggested it to the Jacaranda Festival knowing it wasn't going to be a small job," she said.

"So after last night which was just devastating, we said that it had to happen now, and we'd just get onto it."

Ms Vidler said she was hearted to hear of so many people willing to help, and said she was amazed at people commenting on social media willing to donate material or money to the cause instead of sewing skills.

Mr Blackadder said that while it was a disappointment for the vandalism of the doll to occur, he wanted to bring back the focus to the spectacular night at Riverlight that had preceded it.

"It was just spectacular, we're really stoked with how the night went. Far beyond our expectations," he said.

"It was disappointing, but we're delighted to see the community support to make it happen again next year."



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