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Famous Finsbury Park topiary elephants toppled as car crashes into wall

'I felt a sense of profound sadness. It has been seven years of nurturing for it all to be destroyed in seconds'

13 August, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Tricia Zipfel (left) and Sadie Mcclelland (right) in front of the topiary elephants after the collision

THE RENOWNED topiary elephants in Finsbury Park have been mangled after a car crashed into the garden wall sparking an outpouring of dismay from local residents.

Scores of passers-by have stopped in horror to stare at the elephant hedges, designed and crafted by Tim Bushe, in Romilly Road at the junction with Ambler Road.

Residents said they heard a “screech” and a “loud bang” as a car sped down the road and careered into the wall toppling one of the three elephants at about midnight this morning.

Mr Bushe, who was commissioned by the Blackstock Triangle Gardeners group to create the elephants seven years ago, said: “The elephant herd seems to be under attack from each end at the moment.

“We had to remove the head of one elephant at the other end two weeks ago because of a case of honey fungus and we are trying to graft another head onto that elephant’s backside at the moment.

“Then I wake up this morning to messages from the gardeners telling me about the crash. I felt a sense of profound sadness. It has been seven years of nurturing for it all to be destroyed in seconds.”

Police confirmed that they were called to a car in collision with a wall in Ambler Road at about 12:05 this morning.

A spokeswoman added that this was a “damage only collision” and no criminal offences are being logged in relation to it.

Sadie Mcclelland, who lives in Ambler Road, said: “You could hear the car coming really fast down the road. It was pelting down here.

“Then you heard this incredible sound. A massive bang, like an explosion.

“Everyone came out into the streets. The boys got out of the car saying they’re alright, they’re lucky.

“It was absolutely unbelievable. It is such a shame, loads of people keep coming out of their houses this morning and they can’t believe what has happened.”

Smashed window glass was scattered around the pavement this morning and the cover of a lamppost had been knocked about 20 yards down the road.

Tricia Zipfel, of the Blackstock Triangle Gardeners group, said they were due to meet by the hedges later this week to discuss further projects.

She said: “It is such a landmark. We get people coming here to look at the elephants all the time. It’s like a little local wonder of the world.”

She added: “I hope we can save them. The root ball has not snapped so we might be able to pull the elephant back up.”

Ms Mcclelland said: “We could get the whole street together and lift the elephant up with ropes.”

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