Fresh start for hard-hit Scouts

DELIGHTED: From left, Thomas Christie, Joshua Wynn, Luke Walker, Oliver Groom, Louis Irwin and Josh Brett in front of the Fylde scouts HQ. (Below) At the foundation 'stone unveiling are the Mayor of St Annes on Sea Town Council, Councillor Christine Akeroyd; Fylde Scouts president Tom Westall with Mark Menzies (right) MP for Fylde and the Mayor of Fylde, Councillor Howard Henshaw; Fylde Scouts president Tom Westall.
DELIGHTED: From left, Thomas Christie, Joshua Wynn, Luke Walker, Oliver Groom, Louis Irwin and Josh Brett in front of the Fylde scouts HQ. (Below) At the foundation 'stone unveiling are the Mayor of St Annes on Sea Town Council, Councillor Christine Akeroyd; Fylde Scouts president Tom Westall with Mark Menzies (right) MP for Fylde and the Mayor of Fylde, Councillor Howard Henshaw; Fylde Scouts president Tom Westall.
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FYLDE Scouts left devastated by two arson attacks which destroyed their headquarters celebrated an historic day as they unveiled the foundation stone of their new building.

Almost two years after the first blaze ripped through the headquarters on Heyhouses Lane in St Annes, Scouts, their leaders and borough dignitaries gathered to see how the new district headquarters has risen from the ashes.

The Mayor of St Annes on Sea Town Council-Councillor Christine Akeroyd.

The Mayor of St Annes on Sea Town Council-Councillor Christine Akeroyd.

A foundation stone, inscribed with the name of Fylde Scouts’ president, Tom Westwall, was unveiled on Saturday.

Mr Westwall said: “The new building is marvellous. It’s a great honour to be here today to see the unveiling of the foundation stone.” The original timber structure, which was home to hundreds of Beavers, Cubs and Scouts during the summer holidays, was destroyed by fire on July 19, 2010.

A second arson attack caused a further £30,000 worth of damage in March last year.

Scouts, who used the site for camps, were heartbroken following the fires, but spirits have been raised by the transformation of the building.

At the foundation stone unveiling are the Mayor of St Annes on Sea Town Council, Councillor Christine Akeroyd; Fylde Scouts president Tom Westall with Mark Menzies (right) MP for Fylde and the Mayor of Fylde, Councillor Howard Henshaw; Fylde Scouts president Tom Westall.

At the foundation stone unveiling are the Mayor of St Annes on Sea Town Council, Councillor Christine Akeroyd; Fylde Scouts president Tom Westall with Mark Menzies (right) MP for Fylde and the Mayor of Fylde, Councillor Howard Henshaw; Fylde Scouts president Tom Westall.

Oliver Groom, 12, from 1st Warton Scouts, said: “When the old building got burnt down I felt sad. But people have raised a lot of money to help us.

“The new building is much bigger than the old one. I’m looking forward to using it.”

Luke Walker, 14, from 1st Warton Scouts, added: “We are going to have a really nice, new building. It’ll be great for holding big scout camps.”

The new building, which will feature a large hall, meeting rooms and dormitories for up to 60 beds, will cost around £470,000 to build, but more cash will be needed for fixtures and fittings.

Work began on the site in December and the steel frame was erected just after Christmas.

Mike Smith, the Scouts’ district commissioner, said he hoped the new headquarters would be ready by June.

He said: “We were devastated by the fire almost two years ago. It was awful. Our previous building had a lot of memorabilia, trophies, records and photos which were all lost in the fire.

“But now we feel elated. It is an historic day. We have got a nicer building than before, which we hope can be used by people outside scouting. It is a new chapter.”

Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “This is a very proud day for scouting in Fylde.

“When the building burnt down it was a great tragedy but today is testimony to the hard work and dedication of Fylde Scouts.”

A fundraising appeal, which includes a ‘buy a brick’ opportunity, has been launched by Fylde Scouts.

For more information visit the website www.fyldescouts.org.uk.