Thieves steal tribute bench

A memorial bench has been stolen from Rivington Bowling Club. This is where the bench used to sit overlooking the lake, where Arthur Orrell, used to fish.
A memorial bench has been stolen from Rivington Bowling Club. This is where the bench used to sit overlooking the lake, where Arthur Orrell, used to fish.

A family tribute to a much-loved father, grandfather and husband has been stolen from a Rivington club.

Rivington Bowling Club, on Horrobin Lane, was targeted by thieves on the evening of May 8.

A memorial bench, three picnic benches, a glass circular table and four chairs, were taken from around the side of the premises.

This is the second time the club, which is owned by Neil and Rachel Taylor, has been targeted in only three months, with copper wiring being stolen in February.

The raid has come as a particular blow to Neil, Rachel, and the rest of the Taylor family, since the bench was a poignant tribute to Rachel’s father, Arthur Orrell.

It sat in an elevated position overlooking the lake in Rivington, where Arthur used to spend his time fishing,

In a moving gesture, the family had a plaque made for the bench, with the words ‘Gone Fishing’ embedded on it.

Father of three, Neil, 45, said: “It’s a nightmare. We noticed when we opened up on Wednesday morning.

“It must have been in the early hours of the morning, because we were there until half 11 on Tuesday night.

“At first I didn’t notice, but my daughter spotted that her grandad’s memorial bench was missing.

“It has been unbolted, and the thieves must have had a large van.

“The memorial bench is definitely the biggest blow - the other benches can be replaced.”

As well as the theft, the family are also having to deal with the difficult lead up to the first anniversary of Arthur’s death.

Neil, dad to Lauren, 18, Natalie, 15, and Jordan, 11, said: “It’s been upsetting for everybody.

“The timing couldn’t have been worse, because it is only three to four weeks since the first year that Arthur died. We all decided to get the bench as a family.

“We now have to decide what we are going to do.”

Neil, who has owned Rivington Bowling Club for two years, is currently organising for CCTV to be installed on the site.

He has said that he would like people to get in touch with the club, if they believe they know where the bench now is.

Due to the theft, Neil has also been forced to postpone the May 22 beer festival to the August bank holidays.

An investigation is now underway.

A spokesman from Lancashire Constabulary said: “This theft has been reported to officers and an investigation is under way.

“Anyone with any information is asked to contact police.

“ Particularly, anyone who may have witnessed any suspicious activity in the area overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday is asked to contact officers if they have any information they think might assist the investigation by calling the new non- emergency number 101.”