North Tameside’s Scout Canoe Centre container at the rear of Oxford Park on Pottinger Street Ashton which has been there many years was broken into on Wednesday the 25th September around 5.00pm.
An old Scout rang Alan Fish and said ‘all the tents were strewn around Oxford park and surrounding streets and he had put some back into the centre with the canoes. ‘
The Canoe Centre Manager, Ken Severs went down and he fitted a temporary lock, it looked as nothing was taken it was just vandalism.
The following evening Alan Fish received calls from the Active Tameside centre in Oxford park and the fire and rescue service that said the container was on fire.
Alan said, ‘It was a terrible to see all the fire damaged canoes, surf boards, helmets, bouncy aids and many tents.’ The fire officer said, a local resident said, ‘One of the gang of girls and boys was called Daniel and she was appalled at the damage they had done!’
The canoes were used by various Scout groups just to have a canoe up and down the canal and all that equipment has now been lost and one less activity the Scouts can do to gain the canoeing experience.
About one hundred tents were actually collected from a music festival, as now a days people don’t take their tents home when the festival finishes, these were in the process of being sorted into complete tents with the correct poles, and would have been given to Scout groups.
Alan went on to say after the fire I put a call out to Leaders who could come down and help clear the site to make it safe.
As Scouts is a team operation, ten leaders answered the call for help and offered to help, the site was cleared within a couple of hours.
The future of the centre will now need to be looked at, firstly the Scouts are hoping to get a hopefully, free skip or truck to take all the burnt equipment to the tip, then the container will need a clean and repaint.
Then work on grants will then start to replace the canoes and safety equipment for the Scouts to gain experiences of canoeing on the canal again.
It is a very sad world we live in today; Scouting was set by Baden Powall over a hundred years ago to help young boys to be better citizens in all our communities and yet some young people for a laugh, want to destroy that aim which was for them as well.
If you would like to help young people, don’t tell Baden Powell, it now includes girls, the contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 07931765120 or go to: www.ntscouts.org.uk