Vandals set fire to historic Chorley bowling club

Vandals have torched an historic bowling club in Chorley, causing thousands of pounds in damage.

Monday, 17th December 2018, 8:15 am
Updated Wednesday, 19th December 2018, 7:33 am
The damage has reportedly caused thousands of pounds in damage.

The Rivington, formerly Rivington Bowling Club, in Horrobin Lane, was engulfed in flames on Sunday morning.

The family-owned bowling club, idyllically situated on the Rivington Reservoir, has been a fixture of village life for over a century.

But in the early hours of Sunday morning, vandals set fire to the green, which spread to a shipping container used to store equipment.

The damage has reportedly caused thousands of pounds in damage.

The container was consumed by the fire, destroying the club's mowers, strimmers, hedge cutters, maintenance tools and supplies.

Neil Taylor, owner of The Rivington, said his family were 'absolutely heartbroken'.

Sharing pictures of the damage on the club's Facebook page, he said: "Devastated isn't the word.

"This is the damage the scumbags have caused. Thousands and thousands of pounds worth of damage. It's so upsetting for the whole family.

The damage has caused thousands of pounds of damage.

"Everything inside my dad's bunker (the container) is gone. Tools, equipment, mowers, strimmers, everything. It's all gone.

"We know someone lit a fire deliberately, causing it to spread and burn out my dad's bunker with all his belongings inside. It’s absolutely heartbreaking."

Mr Taylor thanked fire crews who battled the fire for over an hour to prevent it spreading to the clubhouse and tea room.

"We can not thank the fire team enough for putting the fire out before it escalated", said Mr Taylor.

The bowling club has been allegedly targeted by vandals.

But Neil said he will not allow the vandals to spoil Christmas for his family and the village.

The Village Club, which serves the bowling club and the community, will remain open.

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said: "Crews from Horwich and Chorley were called to reports of a fire on Horrobin Lane, Rivington.

"The fire involved a shipping container and it was extinguished using a hose reel, thermal imaging camera, short extension ladder and bolt cutters.

The fire has destroyed all the bowling club's tools, equipment and mowers.

"Firefighters were in attendance approximately one hour and twenty minutes.

"The cause of the fire is thought to be deliberate and an investigation alongside the Police is now underway."

A police spokesman added: "It’s been reported to us and we are looking into it."

If anyone has any information, please contact police on 101, with incident number 0407 of December 16.