Vandals trash years of work
An Artist who spent four years completing a photographic installation has seen her work vandalised twice in one week.
But Clare Newton says she refuses to be beaten by the attacks.
She had planned a fortnight of events and a festival for emerging musicians to coincide with the unveiling of her images.
Clare said: "I had persuaded the performers to come down and speak to groups of children but all that had to be cancelled. The kids had been looking forward to it and they are upset and very sad."
Clare had been putting the finishing touches to her work at Royal Victoria Square near the Excel centre when it was damaged last Monday night.
On Wednesday night it was sabotaged for a second time, devastating the metal structure and destroying a rocket built by Britannia Village primary school pupils.
Clare said: "The second time they tore the whole structure out of its base plates, they bent it over and ripped it apart. It left the work exposed to the wind. It is devastating. I had felt so proud - we were due to have 200 kids streaming through the next day."
Determined to salvage as much as she could from her venture, Clare has scraped together her own savings to fund repairs to the steel framework.
Clare said: "I didn't want to let down the children so I found a school hall at Cubitt Town and did an art class there instead. We had a Special Educational Needs school come down from Ockendon on Monday. They have built the most beautiful lighthouse for the project. Fortunately we hadn't put it up.
"I took them to the Thames Police Museum and it was wonderful to see their faces so happy. A little girl came up to me and thanked me which was so lovely."
Clare makes no money on the work but the original funding for her Riches Uncovered, came from Trinity Buoy Wharf and Olympic Park construction company Carillion.
Clare, who is dyslexic, became involved in art as a way of expressing herself. Despite having no formal training, she put on an open air show at West Ham Park last summer drawing 120,000 people.
The major setback on this project which explores East London's "hidden heritage" has left Clare with just two days to install her work before the festival. She says she's running out of people to ask for help.
She said: "How can I not go on after achieving this much? Half of you wants to go away and cry and the other half knows the show must go on. Everyone has been so good. Newham Council has rallied round and found me six volunteers to put it back up. I just need help taking it down and guarding it while it is up."
A spokeswoman from the Excel centre said: "There was some damage but it is all being repaired. We have 24-hour security on site at Excel and, as much as we can we look at everything, there is not really anything we can do if someone is determined to do damage."
If you can help Clare call her on 07887 564012 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. VivaCity Festival is taking place on July 24 at Royal Victoria Square from 11am to 6pm. Places are limited to 500 on a first come first served basis.