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Fury as popular pavilion is wrecked following blaze

Hope Street park pavillion has been damaged by arsonists.  Pictured are members of Recreation Ground Bowling Club.

Hope Street park pavillion has been damaged by arsonists. Pictured are members of Recreation Ground Bowling Club.

 

Community leaders have spoken of their anger at extensive damage caused to a park pavilion in a suspected arson attack.

Part of the Hope Street Park Bowling Pavilion was severely damaged in the blaze – and follows three acts of vandalism earlier this year.

Fire crews from St Annes were called to the incident around 3am on Saturday to find a blaze in the corner of the building.

Pam Curtis, of the Friends of Hope Street Park, said: “It’s a terrible blow. We were hoping with the funds we’d raised for it to put a new outside skin on it. Now we don’t know if that will be possible.

“We’ve a fun day coming up on August 9 but now we may not be able to provide toilets.

“It’s the minority spoiling ot for the rest of us – it’s such a shame.”

Hope Street Bowls Club chairman, Joan Rhodes said: “It’s a real smack in the teeth. Five or six weeks ago we had vandals smashing doors and breaking windows. This time they have done the ultimate and torched it.

“We have been robbed of our facilities. The members were shocked when they saw the damage. People were in tears.”

Joan added the inside of the pavilion is “like charcoal” with fire crews closing it completely.

In June, the members were shocked when they turned up at their pavilion to find the main door boarded up.

Landlord Fylde Council had made the building secure after damage estimated at £1,000 was caused throughout the single-storey structure.

After the latest incident the club has been forced to swtich its league matches to Ashton Gardens Bowling Club and Joan admitted the only silver lining for the players was a £70,000 scheme to refurbish the pavilion due to start later this year.

She added: “The Friends of Hope Street Park have raised £70,000 to do the building at the end of the bowls season.

“It will be really quite special. That is the hope we have got.

“We are a long established club and are quite determined.

“I would just ask anyone reading – do you know where your child was on Friday night? Did they come home smelling of smoke? We need to find who did this.”

St Annes Fire Station crew manager Jonny Williams confirmed an investigation had been launched into the cause of the incident. A spokesman for Lancashire Police added two 17-year-old girls were arrested on suspicion of arson and bailed until September 12.

 

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