SICKENING vandals have stripped the names of brave fallen Nuneaton soldiers from a sacred war memorial.
The theft of the brass name plaques from the First World War tribute is the callous climax to what has been a year of hell at the Griff and Coton Sports and Social Club in Nuneaton.
Shocked committee members were dumbfounded when they realised the memorial, which has stood since 1914, had been attacked.
"It is the lowest of the low," said Chris White, club secretary.
Having laid a wreath at the foot of the memorial every Remembrance Sunday, the club had planned to try and organise an official memorial event this year and try and trace the families of those whose names were on the statue.
"This just shows the sort of thing we are up against," added Yvonne Edwards, club treasurer.
"We wanted to do something nice and now this has happened, you can't believe it."
2010 was a year to forget at the more than 100-year-old club off Heath End Road and the trouble started back in February when the football changing rooms were vandalised, including the copper piping being stolen from the showers.
Then the tennis pavilion was broken into and vandalised before, a few months later in April, it was torched in an arson attack.
This left the sporting sections will no access to electricity, which meant that floodlights could not be used and they were forced to find somewhere else to train.
The main club itself has not escaped the trouble, the function room was broken into and money was taken from all of the gaming machines, as well as damage caused inside.
Also, the small bowls hut was broken into and the coin operated electricity metre was savaged and the cash stolen.
Last month, all of the new copper cabling, which was due to be re-connected to bring electricity back to the vast sporting area and changing rooms, was stolen.
Finally, several days ago, cleaners noticed that the ceiling in the main function room had started to leak and it was then discovered that, sometime over the festive season, copper had been stolen from the roof.
But the committee and its loyal legion of members are determined to keep going: "We are still up and running and we want to stress to people that we are still open," Yvonne said.
"Yes, its disheartening and whenever we think we have taken a step forward we seem to be taking a step back. Our funds are also being drained too because of everything that has happened, it has costs us thousands of pounds over the past year.
"But we are not a run-of-the-mill members club, we have the cricket, football, rugby and netball sections here. We also have indoor bowls, darts and dominoes as well as charity nights, we have no problem with that side of things."
Testament to this is the fact that the club is thriving with members and the main function room, which has been redecorated, is jam-packed with bookings over the coming months.
Committee members are also looking forward to the future and making the club more `community' based, but could do with a helping hand.
"We are a charity and if there are any business people out there who would like to become trustees and come on board to help us get grants, we would be very grateful," Mr White added.
"Any sponsorship would also be gratefully received, as would help with security."