THE community has rallied round after a rugby club was broken into and had its equipment damaged by vandals.

As reported in the News, Bridport Rugby Club off Skilling Hill Road was broken into in May. Wooden boards which cover the windows at the pavilion were torn off, windows were smashed and a substantial amount of equipment was damaged - much of which is used by young players.

The vandals smashed wooden sterilisation points - created to reduce the spread of Covid-19 during games and training - and sliced open and destroyed a number of tackle bags.

Since then, the club has benefitted from a number of donations from the Bridport community to repair the damage and replace the equipment.

BridSport, a newly-established sports retailer donated two brand new tackle blocks while two tackle rolls were donated by Premiership rugby team the Exeter Chiefs, to ensure the equipment would be available for the club's summer training sessions.

£200 was also donated, courtesy of the Bridport Rotary Club, which will be used to replace and securely bar the broken windows.

Noel Gregory, junior rugby chairman at Bridport Rugby Club, said: "It was such a terrific response, we didn't ask for anything it was all spontaneous.

"The Exeter Chiefs crew just dropped the rolls off, they didn't tell us beforehand they just came from Devon to help us out. BridSport has literally just set up and they did it all spontaneous, setting up a company the last thing you want to do is give away your product but they just gave them to us, no strings attached. Then the rotary club donated out of the blue as well.

"It really restores your faith in the community - what a good feeling it is to know how many people are behind you and how appreciative they are of what we do for the young children of the town.

He added: "When people make this offer out of the blue and just drop this stuff at your door you think 'wow, people are good really'."

A number of the parents have taken the ripped pads away as they think they can secure them. If that works out the club will end up with as much equipment as they had before but better quality.

Summer training is now up and running at the club and the seniors are preparing for a 10s tournament coming up on Saturday, August 21, with 16 other clubs coming to Bridport to participate.