VANDALS who wrecked a special jetty used by disabled water-skiers in Whitworth failed to spoil skier Mike Appleford's moment of glory.

Manager Andrew Knowles, who runs Whitworth Ski Centre at Cowm Reservoir with his wife Flo, worked for hours to repair the damage so that Mike, from Glasgow, could compete in the North West Regional Championship.

Andrew had to go out in a boat to bring the floating jetty back to the edge before he set about making new ramps in time for the competition, but his hard work paid dividends when Mike came third overall and said it was even better than being world champion.

Mike competed in the slalom, jump and trick competitions against 22 water-skiers, all of whom were able bodied.

Andrew is coach and captain of the British Disabled Water-ski Team and Mike is a member and world slalom champion.

He specially converted the floating jetty at the centre and fitted it with ramps so wheelchair users can get to the water's edge by themselves.

When he discovered the jetty had been vandalised and was floating in the middle of the reservoir, the ramps had been smashed and the banana seven-seater had been punctured he was disgusted.

He said: "Words can't express how I felt when I saw the damage. What do they get out of doing something like this? It is unbelievable.

"This year has been relatively trouble free. Last year we had huge gangs of youths drinking and using foul language but until this incident it has been quiet."

The £800 banana inflatable had been punctured with a knife several times. Andrew has tried to repair it but has yet to try it out to see if the repairs have worked.

He said: "We pride ourselves on being totally integrated and allowing disabled people to be able to compete on equal terms and to make sure that they can come here and feel the same as everybody else."

The centre is the northern training site for the British Disabled Waterski Association.