Club dev­as­tated af­ter ar­son at­tack

Accrington Observer - - FRONT PAGE - JON MACPHER­SON jon.macpher­son@men-news.co.uk @JonMacMEN

AYOUTH foot­ball club has been left count­ing the cost af­ter a sus­pected ar­son at­tack de­stroyed vi­tal equip­ment.

Bosses at Clay­ton Park Rangers FC said they are ‘dev­as­tated and hugely dis­ap­pointed’ af­ter the garage used to store hun­dreds of pounds worth of equip­ment was burnt to the ground.

The in­ci­dent on Che­quers in Clay­ton-le-Moors hap­pened at around 7.40pm on Sun­day, October 22, and is be­ing treated as ‘sus­pi­cious’ by po­lice.

The club, which has been run­ning for 13 years, has now launched an on­line fundrais­ing ap­peal.

Michael For­shaw, club chair­man, said the garage had been in his fam­ily for decades and con­tained foot­balls, bibs, cones and 7v7 nets for the club.

The 42-year-old, from Clay­ton-le-Moors, told the Ob­server: “When I got there it had all gone up in smoke in about 10 min­utes. I was dev­as­tated. It was a lot of money that went up.

“I’m mad about what hap­pened be­cause of what they have taken away from our kids. We will just have to crack on with it and start again.

“The re­sponse we’ve had has been ab­so­lutely in­cred­i­ble. I didn’t think that many peo­ple knew what we were about in Clay­ton but the re­sponse is amaz­ing.”

Gareth Cross, who is sec­re­tary of the club and the Ac­cring­ton & Dis­trict Ju­nior Foot­ball League, said they want to raise £800 to re­place the lost train­ing equip­ment and to buy a new stor­age shed.

He said: “The ma­jor­ity of the club’s train­ing equip­ment which we have built up over the past 13 years has been lost due to this mind­less act.

“As you can imag­ine ev­ery­one to do with the club is dev­as­tated and hugely dis­ap­pointed that some­one could do some­thing like this. As we are a small community vol­un­teer-run grass­roots foot­ball club, we sim­ply don’t have the funds avail­able to re­place all that we have lost.”

Two fire crews from Hyn­d­burn were called to the in­ci­dent and fire­fight­ers spent around an hour tack­ling the blaze. No in­juries were re­ported and an in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been launched.

Lan­cashire Po­lice said they are treat­ing the in­ci­dent as ‘ sus­pi­cious’ and no ar­rests have been made.

To do­nate to the ap­peal visit: www.just­giv­ing.com/crowd­fund­ing/clay­ton-park-rangers-fc.

Any­one in­ter­ested in join­ing the club email sec­re­tary@cprfc.co.uk.

Club sec­re­tary Gareth Cross with the re­mains of the garage, which stored vi­tal equip­ment

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