Heartache as vandals trash new sports facility – just weeks after it opened

Mark Sickling at the smashed window in the dressing room at Greatham Village sports field. Picture by FRANK REID
Mark Sickling at the smashed window in the dressing room at Greatham Village sports field. Picture by FRANK REID
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VANDALS targeted left sports association bosses devastated after targeting facility just weeks after it was created.

Greatham Sports Field Association has tirelessly fundraised for two years to save up for the changing rooms which were finally set up on the village sports field last month.

Mark Sickling at the smashed window in the dressing room at Greatham Village sports field. Picture by FRANK REID

Mark Sickling at the smashed window in the dressing room at Greatham Village sports field. Picture by FRANK REID

But the initial buzz about the two 30ft portable cabins disappeared when Mark Sickling, committee member of the association, found one of the windows smashed and feet marks on one of the doors where it is believed yobs tried to smash their way inside.

Furious Mark is now asking members of the public, villagers, and village youngsters to keep watch and report any suspicious or unruly behaviour.

Mark, 48, said: “It may not seem anything major to some but it’s very disappointing. There’s lots of people offering their time for nothing. For example there was a painter and decorator there working away for nothing, using paint that had been donated.

“It’s just gut-wrenching and when I saw it, it really knocked the wind out of my sails.”

It may not seem anything major to some but it’s very disappointing. There’s lots of people offering their time for nothing.

Mark Sickling, from Greatham Sports Field Association

Mark, who is from the village but lives on the Fens Estate, in Hartlepool, said he is going to try to fix the window himself, instead of forking out around £70 for a glazier from the Greatham Sports Field Association funds.

He added: “Hopefully this is a one off, but I’m not having it.

“There’s too much work gone into those cabins to not do anything about it.

“Ninety-nine per cent of the kids who play around there are good kids and they come over and ask how we’re getting on, and we’ve even had some of them helping us paint so we’re including them and getting them involved.

The dressing rooms at Greatham Village sports field.

The dressing rooms at Greatham Village sports field.

“Because that’s who it’s for, the kids.

“I’ve asked them all to video on their phones anyone who decides to do anything like this, and then I’ll be getting the police involved.”

Greatham Sports Field Association works tirelessly on the upkeep and development of the playing field, and eventually saved up enough cash, through a string of fundraising events, to buy the changing facilities for £2,200 to allow the hosting of football games, and other sporting events.

The group’s hard work came to fruition though after the two 30ft portable cabins and a toilet block were delivered.

It represents a huge step forward for Greatham Sports Field Association and also the Greatham Bull and Dog Football Club, and paves the way for more exciting times ahead.

The Greatham Sports Field Association, which has to find £2,000 per year just for the sports field upkeep and rent, has been running for 17 years and fundraising for changing facilities for the last several years.