0 Vandals target Barrow park memorial shelters

THE Barrow Park bowling club and a team of generous benefactors are counting the cost of a senseless vandalism attack.

Weeks of work to erect two players' shelters - not to mention hundreds of pounds in donations - were undone on Thursday night or Friday morning.

The vandal or vandals appear to have kicked the shelters to bits and then flung some of the broken planks of wood around the clubhouse.

The shelters were built in 2010, through £1,100 donated to the Friends of Barrow Park group, to allow players and observers to sit in comfort during games.

Sheila Burns, the treasurer of Friends of Barrow Park, played a pivotal role in raising the money and her husband, Mike, spent weeks building the structures.

Mrs Burns's dismay yesterday was only amplified by the fact the shelters were built in memory of her late son Bruce Hodder, who died 15 years ago, aged 24.

"I'm absolutely gutted," she said. "I'm flabbergasted and I can't believe that anybody could do anything like that.

"We did this for the community so that people would have somewhere to sit when it rains and they are so well-used."

The shelters were funded through donations of £500 from the Evening Mail's CN Charitable Trust, £300 from the 2009 Keswick to Barrow walk, £100 from Furness Building Society and £200 from Mr and Mrs Burns.

As well as the monetary donations, volunteers spent many hours building, painting and erecting the shelters.

Mrs Burns said she had no idea how she would raise the money needed to carry out the repairs before the next bowls season begins.

"I don't think I could go back to them and ask for the money again," she said.

"Where do we get the money to replace it? I just think it's mindless vandalism."

Park ranger Mike Payne has been maintaining the area for five years and said it was incredibly disheartening to see the hard work of so many people go to waste.

"We are getting a lot of senseless damage all over the park," he said. "It's been happening more and more over the last 12 or 18 months.

"The volunteers do an awful lot for the park, like donating seats, and things like this make it really hard."

Mark Rigg has been the club's greenkeeper for 15 years and is constantly having to repair damage to the bowling greens from misuse out of hours.

"I couldn't believe it, I just shook my head when I saw it," he said. "What joy do they get out of this?"

A police spokeswoman said the incident, which occurred sometime between 8.30pm on Thursday and 8am on Friday had "caused distress and upset to the people who use the park".

Anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area is asked to contact PC Kimberley Harrison on 101.

Article sourced from North West Evening Mail

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