Community comes to aid of club

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Community effort .. Celtic Rugby Football Club president Peter Cockburn (left) and administrator Tracey Talbot receive a cheque from Burger Fuel Timaru manager Erika Hampton, following a special night at the store to raise money to help repair the club's vandalised field. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

by Rachael Comer

Expensive damage to a Timaru sports field has had a silver lining, a club committee member says.
The Celtic Rugby Football Club grounds, at Rockdale Rd, were ripped up by vandals in vehicles in May, resulting in damage that could cost the club more than $10,000 to repair, committee and life member Vaughan O’Shaunessy said.
However, despite the huge cost to the club, O’Shaunessy said the police, businesses and members of the public had been “very supportive”.
“We’ve been blown away by the support,” he said.
“Out of something bad, it has shown what a great community we live in.”
Two South Canterbury men face charges over the vandalism. A 28-year-old man was arrested and charged with burglary and criminal damage on Tuesday, and a 19-year-old was charged with similar offences on June 7.
O’Shaunessy said last weekend the junior section of the club was back playing on the field for the first time since the vandalism.
“That means 180 kids aren’t missing out on playing for their home ground.”
The grounds had been rolled and aerated in preparation for play, he said.
“That’s to make it safe for them to play on and we’ll have to wait until spring to do anything more with it.”
He said the cricket wicket was “munted”.
“The senior wicket has been ruined because of the 4WD doing donuts all over it and ripping it up.”
O’Shaunessy said the club had invested money in the wicket last year, using 3cum of soil on the pitch at $160 a metre.
“This year we’re looking at needing at least 20cum of soil and that’s without the manpower costs and other things.”
He said the club was looking at “significant costs” to repair the ground.
“I’ve said in the past it will be at least $10,000.
“That money is us selling raffles, requesting funds from community trusts, pub charities. It’s money that could be better spent on other things in the club.”
He praised the work of Timaru police who had been “very, very good” and businesses such as Timaru’s Burger Fuel, which recently held a fundraising evening for the club. The event raised $1000.
“That donation came out of the blue. The community has really come on board and helped us out.”