Mystery cash funds revamp

Hope Street Park Pavilion
Hope Street Park Pavilion

Work is set to start on the £150,000 renovation of a popular bowls pavilion – with more than £20,000 of the cash coming from a mystery donor.

Hope Street Park Pavilion in St Annes was left devastated by an arson attack in 2014, destroying part of the roof.

The incident was the latest in a number of acts of vandalism on the pavilion – including graffiti and other damage.

But now the centre is set for a revamp, in part thanks to £21,480 mysteriously left on the doorstep of Friends of Hope Street Park chairman Ian Roberts and his wife Pam Curtis’s home three years ago.

Mr Roberts said: “Contractors will start work on Monday to make the pavilion into a first-class base for users of the park and other community groups.

“The arson left the building unusable, and we had to re-plan and raise even more money.

“Instead of renovating a building that had become a bit dingy over the years, we’re having to do a major rebuild.

“People in the area have been wonderfully supportive and raising the money is a tribute to their efforts.

“Our biggest thanks go to whoever it was that left the £21,480 on our doorstep. We may never know who it was but I hope they will appreciate what we have used it for.”

The story created national headlines at the time, with the generous donation of cash left inside an orange Scope charity bag inside a white plastic St Annes’ Gigli’s Butcher’s bag. It contained no note, nor any other means of identification of the amazing benefactor.

The Friends have also received cash support for park improvements from Fylde Council, the former Fylde Local Strategic Partnership, Progress Housing, St Annes-on-Sea Town Council, the county council, from car boot sales and fun days and a further £575 from bowler Frank Howard, who galvanised fellow bowlers into a fund-raising bowls tournament for Hope Street.

The project, the latest in six years by the voluntary Friends of Hope Street Park, will involve a new, insulated exterior, new windows and doors, a new kitchen, new toilets, a new roof, new plumbing and heating and the knocking through of two rooms to make an activity area.

The works on the pavilion are expected to be complete by mid-August and have been assisted by Blackpool Council which has provided architectural and quantity surveyor services which specified the improvement works necessary.

Mark Wilde, Fylde Council’s head of parks and green spaces, added: “When they finish, I estimate they will have raised and spent about £200,000 in total.”