'Heartbroken' - pavilion used by junior football club destroyed in fire
PUBLISHED: 06:34 28 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:55 28 August 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
A junior football club says it has been left heartbroken after the community pavilion it used as a clubhouse was destroyed in a fire.
The blaze ripped through the building in Suffolk Road, Gorleston, at around 11pm on Tuesday night.
Thousands of pounds worth of Shrublands FC's football kits and games equipment was lost in the fire at Southtown Common Recreation Ground.
Club secretary, John Barrett, said he was devastated to see the pavilion in ruins.
"I rushed across the road when I received a call to tell me the clubhouse was on fire," he said.
"I was devastated to see something we've all worked so hard on go up in flames.
"It's hard to put into words how we're all feeling at the minute."
Mr Barrett has been associated with the club for 10 years, first as a parent, and now as the secretary.
He said: "We've got a really good set up here and children play football in some capacity most days.
"It's all about providing a hub for children to let off steam and to be out in the fresh air."
Shrublands FC has teams from under seven's to under 15's and has recently set up an adults team.
It also puts on training sessions for children aged four, five and six.
Four crews from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service were called to the scene to tackle the blaze on Tuesday.
The fire service believe the fire was started deliberately.
A police cordon was in place around the pavilion on Wednesday morning as officers continued to investigate the incident.
The fire comes just three days before Shrublands FC was suppose to host its annual pre-season tournament.
Committee member, Kerry Reed, said the club was determined to find a new venue for the tournament.
She said: "The fire could not have come at a worse time but it is important we rally together to make sure the tournament still goes ahead.
"We have already received lots of messages of support which has been amazing.
"Although teams are rivals on the football pitch we are all part of the footballing family."
The club believe the fire began at a bench nearby and urged people with information to come forward.
- If you have any information, contact police on 101.