Staff at The Butterfield Centre in Bourne are heartened by support after bus is vandalised

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Staff at a centre which helps elderly and vulnerable people in Bourne say they have been heartened by the community support after their ‘vital’ minibus was vandalised over Christmas.

The Butterfield Centre in North Road, Bourne, closed its day centre over the Christmas period but the Meals on Wheels service was still operational.

And it was Meals on Wheels volunteers who discovered that the hydraulic tail lift on the back of the minibus, had been tampered with. It happened sometime between the end of December 23 and Boxing Day.

But Butterfield Centre manager Debbie Hague said she had been “inundated” with messages of support after posting her horror at the incident on the Facebook page.

And The Len Pick Trust also stepped in to pay for an engineer to check the hydraulic tail lift was still working.

Trustees are also exploring the possibility of installing CCTV at the premises to stop a similar thing happening in the future.

Debbie said: “The minibus is absolutely vital to us and without it, we wouldn’t be able to open the day centre because it is used to transport people here.

“The engineer came to look at the tail lift on Wednesday and thankfully it still works otherwise people who need wheelchairs or can’t manage the steps.

“I just can’t think why anyone would do such a thing. They haven’t achieved anything.”

The incident was reported to police and other than that, the Meals on Wheels deliveries continued as normal over Christmas and the day centre was able to reopen on Tuesday as the visitors then didn’t require the use of the bus.

Debbie added: “The Len Pick Trust approached us after seeing the Facebook post and we couldn’t be more grateful.

“We had lots of wonderful messages offering us support from the rest of the community, which was really nice, so I’d like to thank everyone who sent a message.”

Adrian Smith, manager of the Len Pick Trust, added: “The Butterfield Centre was a cause particularly close to our founder’s heart. The centre provides a range of services in the community and their minibus is crucial to the delivery of those services.

“The trustees were deeply saddened to hear of the damage to the access lift and are very happy to offer their support to enable the necessary repairs to be undertaken at the earliest possible opportunity. We are also working with the centre to investigate the provision of a CCTV system to monitor the building.”