PICTURES: Police divers recover sections of damaged Clumber Park bridge

Nottinghamshire Police divers used a training exercise to assist Clumber Park in the recovery of stone sections of the ornamental bridge. Photo: Steve Bradley/National Trust.
Nottinghamshire Police divers used a training exercise to assist Clumber Park in the recovery of stone sections of the ornamental bridge. Photo: Steve Bradley/National Trust.

Specialist police divers have been helping recover stone from the waters surrounding the recently-vandalised Ornamental Bridge at Worksop’s Clumber Park.

The clean-up operation is continuing after the iconic 18th century bridge was damaged last month, with repairs expected to run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The incident prompted a phenomenal public outcry of messages of support and offers of help from Clumber Park’s local community and supporters.

Hundreds of paper tags have been attached to temporary fencing at the bridge, and include messages of support and fond memories of the bridge itself.

Nottinghamshire Police is the latest to offer its support, aiding the National Trust to recover large quantities of stone from the 250-year-old bridge that fell into the lake.

A specialist team of police divers spent a day at Clumber Park on Wednesday, salvaging the sections of masonry from the depths of the water while honing their elite skills in underwater search and rescue at the same time.

Rob Brough, project lead for the restoration of the Ornamental Bridge, said: “We are extremely grateful to Nottinghamshire Police for offering to recover stone from the bridge as a training exercise for their team of specialist divers while aiding the restoration of the bridge in the process.

“It has been a great success, with large quantities of stone recovered, which will now be assessed by expert National Trust stonemasons.

“We’d like to thank Nottinghamshire Police for all of their assistance, and we are excited to be moving the restoration of this iconic bridge forward.”

A police investigation into the damage is continuing. Officers were initially called to the park at around 8am on Saturday March 3 after reports of a car colliding with the bridge and bursting into flames.

Police believe the incident could also be linked to a fire at an accommodation barn within the park grounds in the early hours of Monday March 12 which is being treated as arson. Eight people were forced to flee the blaze.

One man has been arrested in connection with the incidents and remains on police bail.

• Visitors and the general public can support Clumber Park’s wider conservation work by donating at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/appeal/support-clumber-park.