Sea front Red Cross centre re-opens

SPARKLING like new, Felixstowe's Red Cross centre has reopened for business after refurbishment work to heal the damage done by vandals.Drunken teenage thugs left a trail of mayhem inside the much-loved seafront centre last summer, putting it out of action.

By Richard Cornwell

SPARKLING like new, Felixstowe's Red Cross centre has reopened for business after refurbishment work to heal the damage done by vandals.

Drunken teenage thugs left a trail of mayhem inside the much-loved seafront centre last summer, putting it out of action.

But now, thanks to Felixstowe Carnival Association and the Felixstowe Lions Club, the centre has been given a makeover for the new season.

Organisers of the centre – which has stood on the prom at Bath Tap since it was donated to the British Red Cross by the town's round tablers in 1965 – are thrilled with the results of the three-week renovation project.

Carole Jones, admin support manager for the Red Cross, said: "This is wonderful – absolutely wonderful.

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"To see what it was like after the vandalism brought tears to your eyes, but then Felixstowe Carnival and the Lions came forward to help us out and this is like heaven. It's great."

The centre is used six days a week from mid-April to the end of October by a wide variety of groups for the elderly and disabled enjoying a day out at the seaside from across Suffolk and Essex – and is fully booked again this year.

Mayor of Felixstowe Harry Dangerfield hoped that youngsters would now leave the centre alone.

"This is an important facility for many people and Felixstowe is very lucky to have it. It is great to see it looking so good again," he said.

Mayoress Pam Dangerfield said: "I hope people respect it and leave it alone. Those who vandalised it should think that it might be used by their grans or other relatives and of the benefits it brings to people."

The renovation project was paid for by proceeds from Felixstowe Carnival with the town's Lions Club providing new furniture.

Both groups wanted to demonstrate practical help for people in need and so that people in the community could see them providing positive action and helping a real local cause

The centre was redecorated throughout, plus new flooring, and a new kitchen including work surfaces and a hob, and new furniture.

A number of local companies helped with the refurbishment work, providing materials at cost price, including AJ Property Services, Cookerzone, electrician Dean Catling, EB Carpets, Marshall Warren Estate Agents and The Gas Shop.

The vandals who attacked the centre smashed seven reinforced glass windows, and left the centre with glass, beer bottles, and dust from a fire extinguisher smothering tables and chairs, and cruets and flowers strewn across the floor.

Light fittings were torn off the ceiling of the single-storey building – and, in a further show of wanton disrespect, a picture of the Queen was badly damaged.

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