Volunteers resolute over Leigh park vandalism

Eric Lancaster was one of the dedicated volunteers who helped restore the toilets at Lilford Park
Eric Lancaster was one of the dedicated volunteers who helped restore the toilets at Lilford Park
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Generous volunteers have fought back against vandals by sprucing up a popular green space’s toilets after they were wrecked.

The public toilets at Lilford Park, Leigh, were defaced in early April by unknown culprits, who caused significant damage to several parts of the facilities.

Lilford Park

Lilford Park

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Smashed windows and evidence of attempts to start a fire were among a list of damage catalogued by park rangers upon discovery.

But members of the Friends of Lilford Park team, which tends to the grounds and facilities, have spent weeks restoring the toilets and getting them back to their very best.

“If you open the toilets up, people can stay in the park for longer,” said David Sykes, chairman of the Friends of Lilford Park.

“But we have a problem with vandalism, inevitably, when the building is left unattended for long periods of time.

"They (vandals) will destroy the decor. They came in with muddy boots, wrecked the walls. At times they also have ‘egging events’ so there can be dried yolk on the walls. As a result, they look like pig sties.

“It was petty vandalism, we are lucky they didn’t do permanent damage.”

To add to their woes, it was the second time in a little under 12 months that the premises had been wrecked.

David said: “We were a bit disheartened because we put in all that effort.”

But the mindless damage did not dampen the spirits of the hard-working volunteers too much.

Long-serving Eric Lancaster, 85 and wife Marilyn, along with John and Chris Garnsey, got stuck in to clean up and renovate the women’s toilets, and are now close to completing the men’s facilities too.

“They have transformed then,” said David.

“They said they are happy to do it for the community.

“We have a great set of volunteers keeping things ticking over.”

He added: “We now have the good fortune of schools using the park during the day now, coming down with 30 to 40 children at a time, so it’s well populated.

“We have events like funfairs too, so people can come and have a good time.”