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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Vandals force closure of Carlisle park card-playing club

For years a hut in a Carlisle park was a regular meeting place for a group of card-playing pensioners but now a series of vandal attacks has forced the club to fold.

The Denton Holme Over 60s Club met for a whist drive in a building in St James’ Park but held their last session on Friday.

Over the years vandals have smashed the windows, damaged the roof and pulled bricks out of the gable end. The damage has cost in excess of £3,000.

Ethel Bulman, who ran the club, said: “It’s sad to say but we’ve been beaten by the vandals. Over time they’ve damaged the roof and broken some of the windows.

“It’s like the black hole of Calcutta inside and you have to have the light on the whole time otherwise it’s so dark.

“It’s sad but we just don’t have the money to keep repairing the windows and roof.

“The bad weather has also played its part. We had problems two years ago in the winter when there was the big freeze. We don’t have the gas heaters on all the time and the radiators burst which we had to sort out.”

Sir Robert Chance, former Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria, cut the sod for the hall in 1959 and the building opened a year later.

Mrs Bulman said: “The community in Denton Holme collected donations to build the club and there used to be a waiting list to join.

“People came from all over Carlisle to play whist and join in the activities.

“Sadly, a lot of our members have died and there were only about 20 regulars – one of them was 102-years-old.”

The building – in a state of disrepair – has a main hall, toilets and a kitchen.

Mrs Bulman is due to have a meeting with Cumbria County Council in September to decide what to do with it. Members have reported the vandalism to the police in the past and they have been out to investigate the incidents.

Any money left in the kitty, after all of the bills have been paid, will be donated to the Great North Air Ambulance. Whist sessions will hopefully be held in the future on Thursdays in Dalston and Fridays in Denton Holme Community Centre on Morley Street.

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