Moss Vale Evening CWA's colourful wraps and pom-poms have brought joy to many, but the community has been left disappointed after one wrap was stolen.
The branch discovered on Monday that the tree decorated with the beloved redback spider in Leighton Park was stripped completely bare.
"It was sad that someone felt their need was greater than the need of the community," said Moss Vale Evening CWA President Jennifer Bowe.
"Someone has tried to take it once before - there were holes at the side of it, they must have come back with scissors."
Mrs Bowe said the spider wrap was still secured to the tree on Sunday afternoon, so the branch assumed it was stolen that night.
The redback was a crowd-favourite when it made its debut with other colourful pom-poms and wraps last year, and when it re-appeared this year.
"Some of the kids were scared of it, but they also loved it," Mrs Bowe explained.
"The trees have brought so much joy to everyone, and it has been tough at the moment with lockdown.
The Winter Warmers in the Gardens installation was first displayed last year as a way to bring some colour and joy to the park during lockdown.
Pom-poms were also handmade by students in the region which were then dotted throughout the trees this year.
"We have been so pleased that the community has taken ownership of the installation, and told us how much they have appreciated it.
"The redback was in an obvious spot - it did not matter what direction you came from, you would have seen it on the tree.
"Why would someone do it?"
The disappointment was not only felt by the branch, but also by members of the community who ventured through the park to marvel at the trees.
The branch announced the loss on their Facebook page and other community pages yesterday afternoon, where Highlanders expressed their disappointment and disgust.
Mrs Bowe said that the post was viewed five times more than other posts overall, and had over 11,000 views.
"We also said in the post if the thieves had a change of heart, they should put it in a box at the back of one of the shops nearby," Mrs Bowe said.
The president also mentioned that the tree would be left bare for the time being, and it has not deterred the CWA branch.
The incident has also been reported to the police.
Mrs Bowe explained that there was another incident last year - she saw some teenage boys remove pom-poms from the installation, where they destroyed them.
Mrs Bowe had a word with one of them and it did not happen again.
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