THE community has rallied round a cricket team after thieves vandalised its clubhouse and set an internal wall on fire.

More than £1,400 has been raised in just two days as the East Lancashire Paper Mill Cricket Club tries to recover following three break-ins in three weeks.

About 20 members of the team carried out a large-scale clean-up of the site yesterday after yobs broke through the roof, ransacked the bar area, and caused significant smoke damage in the main room.

A Go Fund Me page established on Friday has already accrued £1,420 for the team and local building contractors, electricians and other tradespeople have made several offers to help the club rebuild.

A committee meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday night, when members will forge an action plan.

First captain Paul Hewart said: "We want to say a huge thank you to current members, past members, other local clubs and members of the community who have donated to help us.

"One of our members established a fundraising page and at the last look, we had raised £1,300 which is a fantastic sum.

"We have been at the club over the weekend, ripping things out, clearing up and gutting out the damaged wall and ceiling.

"The false ceiling and walls had to come down because the smoke damage was horrendous. The bar is a right mess.

"We have been trying to salvage what we could.

"We are due to hold an emergency meeting to come up with an action plan. "

The damage was discovered by one of the club members on the morning of Friday, December 28.

It followed an attempted burglary on Christmas Eve and another break-in two weeks prior to that at the club, which was established more than 80 years ago.

East Lancs Paper Mill CC posted on its Facebook page: "Just a quick thanks to all members who have been able to spare some time over the holidays to help at the club.

"This is going to be a big job to get everything ready for the season. In time we will have a more specific list of requests (e.g a TV, perhaps CCTV and security fencing) for businesses and the community, but at the moment if there are any tradesmen or women (any plasterers or decorators especially) who can lend a hand when needed then just tag in below.

"Players will likely be needed after nets each Saturday to keep the momentum going.

"Thanks to all members and other local clubs for their donations. This is will give us a good boost but of course any more is welcome and needed. Have a lovely new year — here’s to 2019."

Donate to club via the Go Fund Me page at