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Junior football club left devastated by fire determined to host 'fantastic' tournament

PUBLISHED: 12:37 29 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:37 29 August 2019

From left to right, Sam Burgess, Samuel Cockrill, John Barrett and Ben Flaxman at Southtown Common, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

From left to right, Sam Burgess, Samuel Cockrill, John Barrett and Ben Flaxman at Southtown Common, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

After a fire ripped through the home of a junior football club on Tuesday night it looked like their flagship tournament would have to be cancelled.

Emily Wright and William Westerman at Southtown Common, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodEmily Wright and William Westerman at Southtown Common, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Just days later, more than £2,500 has been raised from fundraising campaigns and Shrublands FC have been donated a host of facilities which will ensure the seven-a-side tournament will take place.

The club, based in Gorleston, lost thousands of pounds worth of football kits and equipment in the blaze at Southtown Common Recreation Ground.

It is believed the blaze which gutted the Claydon Pavilion started at a nearby bench.

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

The club has thanked the community for its "unbelievable" response and said it is determined to put on a great tournament at a new venue in Gorleston.

Emily Wright, whose seven-year-old son William plays for Shrublands FC, has described her delight at the news the tournament will go ahead.

"I know William and the rest of the team are so excited for the weekend," Miss Wright said.

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

"It's amazing to see all the messages of support the club has had.

"The clubs are rivals on the pitch but in tough times like these everybody comes together."

Great Yarmouth Town Football Club raised £500 at their match with Diss Town on Wednesday night following a bucket collection and raffle.

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

A number of other local businesses have also made considerable donations to the Shrublands FC gofundmepage which is backed by the Eastern Daily Press and Great Yarmouth Mercury.

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Club Secretary, John Barrett, said he couldn't thank everybody enough for their generosity.

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

He said: "I thought we'd have some support but the response has been unbelievable.

"It's going to be great to be able to focus on the football come Saturday.

"I'm sure it will be a fantastic weekend."

Great Yarmouth Borough Council has prepared the Magdalen Playing Fields for the tournament which will see junior football clubs from around the country go head to head.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service believe the fire was started deliberately while police officers are continuing to investigate the incident.

Anyone with information should contact Norfolk Police on 101.

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