A BOWLING club which was hit by two arson attacks has reopened its doors after eight months.

Members of Eccleston Bowling Club were left devastated after its Knowsley Road premises were torched last September, causing substantial damage.

And three months later the already-damaged club was the target of a second arson attack, adding a major setback to its renovation plans.

Both fires were believed to have been started on the roof and police treated them as suspicious.

The club, which is more than 130 years old, has been a central part of the community with hundreds of members, and several bowling teams with snooker, darts and dominoes also played there.

Members were overwhelmed by the response in the community, with people offering to help clean it up.

And the Black Bull pub has helped accommodate members during the interim period.

Months of hard work came to an end as the club's revamped premises were launched earlier in May, with seven staff members able to return to their jobs.

And the premises has been equipped with increased security including a razor wire, high security fence and upgraded cameras.

Delighted club steward Paul Smith said: "The people have come back, they have been nomads and using different clubs and it's not been the same.

"Some have been going to the Black Bull and others St Theresa's and Greenall's

"It was good to see them all and they were saying we haven't seen you for eight months and were all congratulating each other."

Paul, from Eccleston, added: "We have got our club back now, it's nice to see everybody coming back and to see happy smiling faces. We've come home.

"It's all new inside and there's a different colour scheme and everybody's made up with everything."

Phil Lynch, who has been a member of the club since 1969, added: "The club is a little oasis. It's a lovely club and a real hub of the community. With the bookies next door and your mates around, you can't beat it."