‘Vandals will not beat us’ vow from bowlers

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A determined group of female bowlers have vowed to battle on and defy the vandals after their headquarters was broken into for the third time this year.

The women of Hope Street bowls club in St Annes were shocked when they turned up at their pavilion at the weekend to find the main door boarded up.

Landlords Fylde Council had made the building secure after damage estimated at £1,000 was caused not just to the entrance but to doors throughout the single-storey structure – and items strewn across the various rooms inside could clearly be seen through the windows.

The bowlers feared the worst – and had to switch their Monday fixture with Staining to the away venue until the extent of the damage was known.

But now, with the help of the Friends of Hope Street Park and offers from club members’ families to carry out the necessary work, the bowlers aimed to be back in business for their home fixture with St Annes’ Ashton Gardens last night.

“This is the third time and the worst one so far,” said club chairman Joan Rhodes. “All the doors and locks were smashed, there was graffiti at various points and all sorts of items were thrown around.

“But nothing seems to have been taken, so all the equipment we had stored there is still available to use and, with the kind offers of help, we are determined to play on and it won’t cost the club anything.

“The vandals won’t beat us.”

The pavilion is due to be refurbished later this year as part of the next phase of improvement at Hope Street Park and Ian Roberts, chairman of the park’s Friends organisation, said there had been fears it might not be economically viable to mend the latest damage ahead of that project getting under way.

“But the bowlers will play on and Fylde Council have been very good about us getting in there quickly and finding a way to mend the damage to make the building viable,” he said.

“It is desperately frustrating that the building is a target for such problems and we would urge anyone who sees any incidents to call police on 101.”