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Junior football club overwhelmed by response of 'football family' following devastating fire

PUBLISHED: 13:07 27 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:07 27 September 2019

Shrublands FC secretary, John Barrett (right centre) being presented with a cheque by Norfolk Hire and Gorleston FC. Picture: Shrublands FC

Shrublands FC secretary, John Barrett (right centre) being presented with a cheque by Norfolk Hire and Gorleston FC. Picture: Shrublands FC

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A junior football club which was left devastated after a fire ripped through its headquarters has been overwhelmed by the generosity shown by the 'football family' in response to the incident.

The damage to the Shrublands FC clubhouse, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jamie Honeywood The damage to the Shrublands FC clubhouse, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Shrublands FC in Gorleston lost thousands of pounds worth of football equipment and kits after the pavilion it used as a clubhouse went up in flames last month.

Since the blaze in Southtown Common Recreation Ground, a number of fundraising pages have been set up and businesses have donated football equipment to ensure Shrublands FC were able to get back up and running.

The support from the community has been so strong that the club was able to host its flagship seven-a-side tournament just days after the fire. Enough money has now been raised to replace all of the equipment which was lost.

Secretary of Shrublands FC, John Barrett, has estimated nearly £5,000 has been raised including more than £2,000 from the Shrublands FC gofundmepage which was backed by the Eastern Daily Press and Great Yarmouth Mercury.

Players of all ages from Shrublands FC training at Southtown Common, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodPlayers of all ages from Shrublands FC training at Southtown Common, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

He said: "It really has been overwhelming and we can't thank everybody enough.

"It just goes to show no matter what badge you wear, the football family will pull together."

On Tuesday night the club was invited to Gorleston FC's game with Norwich CBS.

Norfolk Hire and Gorleston FC presented the club with a cheque for £1,500 which they had raised through fundraising efforts.

The damage to the Shrublands FC clubhouse, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodThe damage to the Shrublands FC clubhouse, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

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Shrubland FC's U8s were also mascots at the game and warmed up alongside the Gorleston first team on the Emerald Park pitch.

Joint manager of Gorleston FC, Scott Butler, said: "It was an honour for us to have members and youngsters from Shrublands FC join us for our cup game and show how close the local football family can be.

"I'm very proud that Gorleston as a club alongside our very own youth section has come together to support Shrublands through such a testing time."

Since the fire, Shrublands FC have played all of their games away from home but expect to host their first game at Gorleston recreation ground in the coming weeks.

Mr Barrett said: "Four weeks ago there's no way any of us thought we'd be in this position.

"The support we have had has been amazing."

The secretary hopes the club will be able to return to Southtown Common next season.

Investigations into how the fire started remain ongoing.

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