Angmering charity devastated by mindless hooligans

Charity United founder Jan Sheward with a picture of the wrecked bus
Charity United founder Jan Sheward with a picture of the wrecked bus

VANDALS who wrecked an Angmering-based cancer charity’s support bus during a frenzied and mindless attack left the cause’s boss on the brink of tears.

Cancer United founder Jan Sheward – herself a survivor of the affliction – was devastated to hear the news on Thursday that her charity’s soon-to-be-launched community bus had been viciously ripped apart by hooligans.

The minibus, which had been in the old cement works, on Ford Airfield, was gutted by the vandals, who caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Jan, who only last week managed to complete her seven-month campaign to raise £5,000 to pay for the bus’s refurbishment, now expects to use all this cash to pay for the damage, bringing her back to square one.

She said: “When I got there and saw the damage I could have wept. It had been done with such frenzy; it was a frenzied attack.

“Everything was absolutely smashed and ripped. All the dashboard had been smashed, the window screen wipers had been ripped off, the tyres had been let down, karaoke machine trashed and the kitchen had been destroyed.

“I was so angry and upset I wanted to cry. It was just horrible.

“We were so near to getting this bus started and out on the road.”

Jan adopted the vehicle – which was the former Littlehampton Café Bus – at the start of the year.

She hoped to use it as a mobile base to offer information and support for cancer patients and those affected by the disease.

The aim was to have the vehicle launched by September 25, to coincide with the opening of Cancer United’s dedicated gym and rehabilitation facility.

Jan is now desperately appealing for the community’s help in raising cash to pay for the damage.

“It’s a significant set back for us,” she said. “So far everyone at my gym, Virgin Active have been absolutely fantastic. As soon as they heard they were saying ‘We want to help’, and, ‘How can we donate’. It’s been lovely.”

Littlehampton mayor, councillor Marian Ayres was one of those who helped provide Cancer United with the bus.

She too was rocked by the news: “I was devastated to hear about it. We passed the bus over for a good cause because we couldn’t carry it on for personal reasons. We knew it was going to be used for a really good cause.

“I just couldn’t believe someone would do this.”

Jan’s daughter, Erica, said the bus had previously been targeted by children a few weeks earlier.

On that occasion police had been informed but no action was taken.

She now suspects youths were responsible for the latest attack.

“It was wanton, reckless violence,” she said. “It’s just horrific what they have done. It’s been totally mindless.

“They ripped things into a million pieces. You can see the brick marks where they have hurled bricks against the window. It has to be kids, a big burly man would have smashed it.”

Police are now appealing for witnesses to call 101 quoting serial 292 of 23/07.

To help Cancer United with fundraising, see { see its website} or call either 01903 779880 or 07957 829505.

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