THREE stone towers built as memorials have been destroyed by vandals.

The nine-foot cairns had stood proudly in a quarry near Rawtenstall for more than 18 months before being reduced to piles of rock.

Mountain bike enthusiast Jan Czugalinski, who built the pillars, said he had erected them in memory of three family friends, Jean O'Loughlin, Joanne McEwan and Ross Allen.

The towers were found in pieces by passers-by and several people contacted the 36-year-old to deliver him the bad news.

Mrs O'Loughlin, 81, had suffered from Dementia and had been a family friend for several years as had Miss McEwan, who lost a battle to cancer.


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Mr Allen, 33, died last year after spending more than two weeks in hospital suffering from sepsis.

Each tower took around nine hours to build and were made up of rocks and stones.

A nearby bench, which was made by Cloughfold residents to enjoy the hill views, was smashed up and burnt by vandals a few days before the cairns near Hurdles Farm were knocked down.

Mr Czugalinski, of Bacup Road, said the towers were well-liked by the community.

He said: "I built the first tower in memory of Jean as she was a great friend of my mum's.

"I built it and then decided to build another one, in memory of Joanne, another family friend who had died of cancer.

"People gave me so much positive feedback and Ross' mum, Hazel, wanted me to build one for him.

"They've been up for ages now and I had never heard a bad word about them, so I don't know why someone has decided to level them.

"They were very sturdy. I've climbed on them several times to prove they were secure so it's taken a few people to take them apart.

"I wouldn't have built them without being secure so it doesn't look like this was one person just pushing it over, you can't push them over.

"People would go up and take their pictures there all the time."

The building of cairns date back to prehistory when the stone monuments were constructed to remember well-liked people in communities.

Mrs Allen said she was absolutely distraught when she found out the cairns had been knocked down.

She said: "Losing my son was one of the worst things in my life and it's something a parent should never have to go through.

"When Jan built the cairn I was completely overjoyed and I was so grateful, it was such a lovely thing to do.

"Ross was so well thought of and popular, he was a builder and he was very talented at it. He helped out so many.

"I don't know why someone has come and taken them down, they would have needed a bulldozer or lots of people to remove them."

Mr Czugalinski made Lancashire Telegraph headlines in 2010 after he built an 18ft snowman in Bacup Road, Cloughfold.

Several residents have offered to rebuild the towers.

Kelly Connolly, Mrs O'Loughlin's granddaughter, said her grandmother's ashes were scattered over the land where the towers used to stand.

She said: "I was very upset when I heard the towers had been dismantled.

"My children were very upset too, they weren't just there to look at, they had meaning behind them.

"I hope they can be rebuilt, but it's going to take a lot of hard work and effort again."

Several people took to social media to express their frustration with the towers being knocked over.

Jayne Clayton, who lives in Rawtenstall, said: "I really liked the towers and they were popular with everyone.

"It was such a shame someone knocked them over. It's really sad to see someone has spoilt such a nice thing."