A guide dog charity has been forced to cancel its summer fundraising fete after a group of travellers pitched up on one of its training centres.
Caravans arrived at the site more than a week ago and remain in place today (Thurs) despite mounting discontent from locals.
Their unwelcome presence has forced officials from the charity Guide Dogs to cancel their annual fundraising event.
The travellers are occupying fields that form part of the organisation’s Atherton Training Centre near Bolton, Greater Mancs.
Every year that patch of land is filled with rides and stalls for locals to enjoy.
However, pictures taken today show three caravans and a number of vehicles there instead.
The money raised from the event is funnelled straight back into the charity, which partly relies on public funding.
The training centre in Atherton is where dogs are trained before being sent to work with the blind and partially sighted.
It costs the charity £35,000 to fully train just one canine and each year their expenditures total £49 million.
This year’s fete was due to be held on Sunday, July 7.
Furious locals have blamed the travellers for the cancellation and gone on to hit out at them on social media.
The visitors have been described as “selfish”, “thoughtless” and “rude”.
Resident Debby Meadows posted: “Disgusting. A lot of hard work as gone into the fun day to raise very much-needed funds.
“They [the travellers] have no consideration or thought for anybody else.”
Sharron Hardman said: “A great deal of work and planning would have gone into this event which would have brought in much-needed income.
“Charities like Guide Dogs cannot afford to lose much-needed income, nor can they afford the massive cleanup bill after the travellers have gone.
“It is little wonder that travellers are so disliked by the public because of the problems and expense they cause for others while following their chosen lifestyle.
“We all have a responsibility for the community and the environment.”
Lynda Ashworth added: “It’s time the law was changed, it should be illegal for the travellers to camp where they like
“When they leave they leave a lot of disgusting rubbish behind. The authorities should be able to move them immediately.”
A Guide Dogs spokespesman said: “We can confirm that illegal trespassers are currently residing on Guide Dogs land at our Atherton Training Centre.
“We have contacted the relevant authorities and are now taking the necessary legal action.
“We are also doing everything we can to safeguard our members of staff, volunteers and of course our dogs during this time.
“Due to the unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, we have had to make the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Summer Fete.
“We would like to thank everyone so much for your hard work and dedication and if feasible, we hope to be able to run the event later in the year.”
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (operating under the name Guide Dogs) is a British charitable organisation founded in 1934.
The organisation help blind and partially sighted people Britons by providing them with guide dogs and various other services.
The Atherton centre is one of four training schools dotted around the UK.
You can donate to Guide Dogs here: https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/donate-now/?fbclid=IwAR2D1p-3mBo99HrqyVnTBPh4vKzh2bhBKrSMqXXhuXR2shIhk3ox_WyspKQ