Football club in Bunwell to fold after sports hall is gutted by fire

A community football club is facing closure after a devastating arson attack.

Bunwell Sports Hall in Wood Lane, which is used by Norwich Sunday League side Bunwell AFC, was set alight around midnight on Tuesday night.

Fire crews responded quickly to the blaze, but the building was completely gutted, and police believe the fire was deliberately lit.

Football club chairman Ryan Wheeler said waking up to the news of the fire was 'devastating'.

Mr Wheeler, 26, from Attleborough, said: 'It baffles me why anyone would want to go and set light to it. It doesn't make any sense.

'Everything we've built up is now gone. Now that we don't have the facilities, the club will have to fold.

'It's hard to see where to go from here.'

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Mr Wheeler founded the club with friends, Adam Guerrero and Luke Meaney, about two years ago, and they have been based at the sports hall for the past 16 months.

The club has 41 players, and has hosted annual community fundraisers, recently raising more than £700 for the Big C Cancer Charity. Mr Wheeler said: 'That's 41 lads who love to come down here and play football who won't have that anymore.'

He said it could cost at least £2,000 alone to replace the equipment, including valuable goal nets, destroyed in the fire.

No-one was hurt in the blaze, which was put out by crews from Sprowston, Attleborough and Long Stratton. A police forensics team was at the scene this afternoon (Wednesday) and a spokesman for the force said the fire was still being investigated.

Anyone with information should contact the police on 101.

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