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'Awful, dreadful news' - City park fire devastates community

PUBLISHED: 18:53 24 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:37 25 November 2019

The burnt out thatched tennis pavillion at Heigham Park. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The burnt out thatched tennis pavillion at Heigham Park. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

A community has been left deeply saddened after a fire destroyed a "hugely loved" park spot.

The fire has destroyed the thatched roof of the tennis pavilion. Picture: Ruth LawesThe fire has destroyed the thatched roof of the tennis pavilion. Picture: Ruth Lawes

The tennis pavilion at Heigham Park on Jessopp Road went up in flames at around 2.22pm yesterday (Saturday, November 23).

Around 25 firefighters tackled the blaze until the evening at the Grade II-listed park and were forced to strip the thatched roof in order to contain the fire.

The burnt out thatched tennis pavillion at Heigham Park. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe burnt out thatched tennis pavillion at Heigham Park. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Now the pavilion, which was approaching its 100th birthday, is in a "very sad and sorry state".

Denise Carlo, a Green Party councillor for Nelson Ward, said: "From a distance it looks as though the main structure is intact so hopefully it will be possible to replace the roof.

Aorund 25 firefighters were called to the fire at the tennis pavilion in Heigham Park. Picture: Ruth LawesAorund 25 firefighters were called to the fire at the tennis pavilion in Heigham Park. Picture: Ruth Lawes

"Heigham Park is hugely loved and when I was there today there were people coming to look at the pavilion and being very sad.

"It is a big loss but hopefully it can be brought back. It is really important to retain the pavilion in the park because it's an integral part of the park's design. The fire brigade obliviously did really well getting there so quickly."

Firefighters have to strip off every thatch in order to stop the blaze. Picture: Gavin BroscheFirefighters have to strip off every thatch in order to stop the blaze. Picture: Gavin Brosche

Textile designer Maire Grieves has walked her dog every day in the Golden Triangle park for the past 12 years and said it was a popular spot for families and school children.

She said: "It is a family-friendly park and boasts a playground for children and also a large green which is used in the summer for fairs and other community activities."

Ms Grieves, who was an eyewitness to the fire which she describes as a "roaring blaze", said she has been saddened that a part of Norfolk's history has been lost.

READ MORE: Fire breaks out in tennis pavilion in city park

The Friends of Heigham Park announced the news on its Facebook page and said: "It is with great sadness that the lovely tennis pavilion has suffered a fire. Such a shame and we are sorry to be bearers of bad news."

On Facebook Lucy Greenwood said: "Oh no that is awful, dreadful news."

She was echoed by Dorothy Richmond who added that the fire was really upsetting.

Investigations are currently ongoing to establish the cause of the fire.

What did the tennis pavilion mean to you? Email ruth.lawes@archant.co.uk

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