Islanders erupted in anger and sadness with comments on the welovestornoway.com Facebook Page after reading our report overnight about how Belgian visitor Pierre de Greef had found his tent and camping equipment vandalised.
Julie Vallier-Green said: “This is a terrible thing to have happen. Can we not set up a JustGiving page (or similar?) to buy him a new tent and equipment? It's our responsibility as islanders to put this wrong right.”
Julie Amanda Dawn Smith said: “Yet again an example of complete and utter ignorant vandalism, I’m disgusted to see this. Whoever is responsible I hope you’re ever so proud of yourselves & the attention you’ve brought to MY lovely home. But for all the wrong reasons. Instead of leaving this beautiful island with happy tales and having experienced beautiful weather to enjoy our island Pierre de Greef , shall forever remember his visit by this mindless act of vandalism. I hope the culprits are caught."
Beverley Borland said of Pierre; “I had the pleasure of meeting him several times at the start of his trip. An absolute diamond. I am so disgusted by this. He seems to be a very stoic man so for him to be this upset, it really has upset him. Not a good reflection on our beautiful island.”
Diane Morrison said: “Such a nice guy, I met him in Uig at the weekend. It's so sad that this has happened on our beautiful peaceful island. I have emailed him asking what all needs replacing and hopefully between us we can replace what he's lost - let's show him what this community is really about.”
Magz Macleod wrote: “This is an absolute disgrace. We are trying our very best to promote our islands in a positive light and here they go again - the mindless, brainless cowards without an ounce of common sense or decency between their ears, tarring our reputation with the brush that the wider mainland media love to wield. We are portrayed either as a Hebridean version of the Amish or alcoholic, drug addicted morons who mindlessly vandalise what is beyond their very limited capabilities to comprehend, or allow their kids to run riot.
“There's no point in hoping those responsible feel a sense of shame. They are no doubt giggling from behind the safety of a computer or mobile phone screen right now. What I do hope is that someone extends a helping hand towards this man. We are happy to welcome him into our home for the remainder of his holiday.”
Speaking to editor Fred Silver last evening (Thursday June 7th) , Pierre explained that he still intended to stay on the Hebrides until July as originally planned. His family back in Belgium were sending out a replacement tent although it would take several days to arrive. He was hoping to encourage more people in Belgium to do unsupported walks or independent hiking. He had been coming to Scotland for ten years for this kind of holiday. On the Hebrides for the first time, he met a warm and caring welcome everywhere as he walked, camped and occasionally hitched across the Island since the start of May.