Club in appeal for donations after spate of vandalism sees windows smashed and equipment stolen
PUBLISHED: 07:55 23 February 2018 | UPDATED: 07:55 23 February 2018
Huntingdon Canoe Club is attempting to raise money to fund repairs after its compound was repeatedly targeted by vandals.
The club, which is located in Hinchingbrooke Park, has recently suffered a spate of vandalism, leaving the venue unusable for members.
Windows have been smashed, the changing facilities damaged, fences have been torn down, and boats have been stolen or sunk by thugs.
The club has launched a fundraising appeal in response, in a bid to help raise money to fix some of the damage caused.
Sophie Walton, chairman and coach at Huntingdon Canoe Club, said:
“The club was already getting a bit ratty looking in 2016 and plans have been afoot to fix the facilities for a while, the changing rooms need upgrading anyway as there is mould and the roofs are splitting and letting rain in the ladies’ changing rooms.
“We had clubbed together on several DIY days where the members got some cleaning and painting gear kindly donated by West End DIY in Huntingdon and we also did some temporary refurbished to the rotting and vandalised doors.
“We also spent some time with volunteers with welding skills under the watchful eye of the experts from Stephens Property Maintenance, kindly donating time, skills and paint to spruce up our club containers but we were really devastated over the summer when we suffered a spate of thefts and vandalisms.
Ms Walton added: “Unfortunately, Hinchingbrooke Park itself, where we are based, was also hit with vandalism on an unprecedented scale.”
Sophie is now worried that the club isn’t going to be able to attract new members due to the state of the clubhouse.
She said: “It’s going to be super difficult to attract and retain new members with the state the club is in and even existing members are drifting away, luckily we move to Huntingdon pool in the winter so the base isn’t use at this time of year.
“First the fences of our compound broke after a storm when a tree fell and broke our pontoon and fence panel and we think the vandals realised they could get in and run amok.
“The park mended that and they built us a new pontoon for which we are really thankful, but the vandals broke the fence in other areas and we used to store our older boats in the open but they keep getting chucked over the fence and left drifting on the lakes so we have stored them on a friendly farmer’s land temporarily.”
To donate to the canoe club visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/huntingdoncanoeclub.