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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Walney church supporters close ranks against attackers

PARISHIONERS of a local church are outraged after brazen teenage vandals smashed a window just 36 hours after it was installed.

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UNDER ATTACK Caretaker and admin officer Janet Blower, left, and Parochial Church Council secretary Ann Hayes inspect the latest damage to St Mary’s Centre LINDSEY DICKINGS REF: 50044966B002

St Mary’s Centre on Walney suffered the latest in a long line of vandalism attacks on Friday night when a rock was used to smash a brand-new window pane.

The noise of breaking glass alerted neighbours in Church Lane and two teenage boys, aged between 13 and 15, were spotted running from the scene at about 8pm.

The incident is a bitter blow to the people who have worked tirelessly for months to secure the money needed to fund the centre’s refurbishment.

The church committee is seeking to raise more than £30,000 to supplement a £50,000 grant from Waste Recycling Environmental Limited to renovate the 32-year-old building, which stands next to St Mary’s Church.

Ann Hayes, the Parochial Church Council secretary, said she was furious when informed of the attack on the centre, which is used by about 300 people a week. She said it was the fifth window to be broken by vandals in the last month and the centre’s supporters were angry.

She said: “We were devastated and so were a lot of the people who have given money to us to fund the refurbishment.

“I had a gentleman – a private donor – who gave me a brown envelope and inside was £750. But we’re still short of our target and this just means that we will no longer be able to do some of the things we wanted to do.”

The church hosts a range of events, meetings and programmes each week that enrich the entire Walney community.

Church administration officer Janet Blower said the centre’s users were at a loss to explain the sudden surge in vandalism.

She said: “It’s just malicious damage – they’re not getting anything out of it except the thrill.”

But in true Christian fashion Mrs Hayes said the perpetrators would be forgiven if they came forward and demonstrated contrition. She said: “If they came to us tomorrow and said they were sorry and asked how they could put it right, we’d find a way.”

Mrs Hayes said the damage would not deter the committee from forging ahead with the refurbishment.

She added: “To all the parishioners and the people who use the hall, I want to say that we will get it done.”

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