Big-hearted members of Airdrie & Coatbridge Round Table have sailed to the rescue of youngsters at Langloan Nursery after their prized playground pirate ship was destroyed by vandals.
The community organisation immediately opened their treasure chest – containing funds gathered during last month’s hugely successful Santa’s sleigh tour – to donate £400 to replace the wooden structure, which they will then help to build.
Delighted youngsters gave their friends from the Round Table three cheers as vice-chairman Gary Millar visited on Monday to hand over the donation.
Group member Stephen Flanigan told how members’ hearts sank when they read in last week’s Advertiser about the ship being wrecked by vandals during the Christmas holidays, just three weeks after it had been built by parents.
It had been chosen by the youngsters themselves and paid for thanks to their efforts in saving up in their special ‘toy fund’.
Stephen said: “A couple of the guys quickly sent everyone an email and it was a unanimous decision to help out and hand over a cheque straight away.
“All the guys felt appalled by what had happened – especially as it was the kids themselves who had saved up, as £400 is a lot of money and it must have taken them a really long time.
“They must have been devastated to have their ship taken away from them; lots of the guys have kids and we know how we’d feel if something like this had happened at their nursery.
“We had a successful Santa tour in the Langloan area, and the reason we do the sleigh tour is to support good causes like this one; things like this are why we joined the Round Table.”
Fellow member Scott Johnston added: “It’s a great project to work on, but one that shouldn’t have come about in the first place.
“The children must have been saddened when they arrived at school to find their own work and the work carried out by their parents vandalised to extent that the ship needs to be replaced.”
Senior early years worker Cath Miller was delighted when Round Table representatives called to inform the nursery of their generous offer – after staff had feared that the play equipment would not be able to be repaired or replaced.
Cath told the Advertiser: “It’s brilliant news and the children were really excited when we told them. It’s a great feeling.
“We’re really grateful to the Round Table – all the nursery youngsters know about Santa’s sleigh going round the streets so they can relate to the Round Table through that.
“Everyone has mentioned what happened since the vandalism was highlighted in the Advertiser, so hopefully it’s highlighted the problem and raised awareness.
“Now we’re hoping to have the replacement ship in place and built by early March – by then the weather will be better too so we’ll be outside on the high seas every day!”
Volunteers from the Round Table will now work with nursery staff and patients on the project, and have sought advice on trying to ensure that the replacement ship can be made vandal-proof.