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‘I feel awful’: Influencer apologises after graffitiing her Instagram handle on ancient chalk cliffs

Volunteers spent hours removing tags from the rocks in Dorset

Helen Coffey
Wednesday 12 August 2020 17:19 BST
The cliffs at Durdle Door are regularly defaced
The cliffs at Durdle Door are regularly defaced

An influencer has apologised after she graffitied her Instagram handle on ancient chalk cliffs at a well-known Dorset beauty spot.

Alexandra Milam, 24, who has more than 12,000 followers, left the unwelcome tag along with hundreds of other tourists at Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast.

Many visitors inscribe their names, tags or messages on the soft rock, which is 180 million years old and part of England’s only natural Unesco World Heritage Site.

Milam’s efforts were spotted after a volunteer posted a picture to social media while she was helping to clean up after the weekend’s mass of visitors.

“Don’t mind me, just cleaning graffiti off a Unesco world heritage site!” wrote Dorset local Anna Lois Taylor.

“I feel physically sick after every clean but this area makes me feel so much worse it’s horrific.”

The accompanying picture showed her cleaning off the rock, on which the tag “ANDRA MILAM”, along with the Instagram symbol, was clearly visible.

Milam has since said she feels “awful” and apologised for the stunt.

“I feel awful because of this horrific event in my life and I wish to express my deep regret for the damage by my name written on the Jurassic Coast,” she told the Dorset Echo.

“I have learned a huge lesson, one which will forever mark me. I reached back to the community to meet all the people who sacrificed their precious time to fix this disaster.

“I want to spread the awareness to everyone who doesn’t understand the beauty and importance of this place. I am disappointed that I didn’t understand it at the time and I don’t want anyone else making the same mistake.”

She pledged to donate £30 a month to a fundraiser set up by volunteer beach cleaner Erin Tyrrell, adding: “Maybe nothing will undo the damage the writing caused but I will try to make things better and I hope people will give me the chance.”

Lulworth Rangers, a conservation organisation that helps look after the site, has implored visitors to respect the area.

Every weekend, volunteers are collecting tens of bags of litter left behind by daytrippers, as well as spending hours removing graffiti from the rocks.

“It’s constant,” said James Weld, owner of the Lulworth Estate. “On Sunday morning we took about 50 bags and there was about 40 from Friday. It’s horrendous.

“It is a natural environment and managing it is a complete nightmare. It’s extraordinary how some people are behaving.”

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