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Junior football club hosts 'brilliant' tournament just days after devastating fire

PUBLISHED: 16:22 01 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:22 01 September 2019

Secretary of Shrublands FC, John Barrett and coach, Ben Flaxman. Picture: Joseph Norton

Secretary of Shrublands FC, John Barrett and coach, Ben Flaxman. Picture: Joseph Norton

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A junior football club which was left heartbroken after a fire ripped through its headquarters has thanked the community for helping them put on a "fantastic" tournament.

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 hosted their flagship seven-a-side tournament at the weekend, just days after losing thousands of pounds worth of football equipment and kit.

The Claydon Pavilion in Gorleston, which the club has used as a clubhouse for a number of years, was gutted by a fire on Tuesday night.

But, in less than 24 hours hundreds of pounds had been raised from fundraising campaigns and Shrublands FC were donated a host of facilities which ensured the tournament could take place.

Co-chairmen, Kirk Towers and Andrew Hannah. Picture: Joseph NortonCo-chairmen, Kirk Towers and Andrew Hannah. Picture: Joseph Norton

Although the venue was moved from Southtown Common Recreation Ground to the Magdalen Playing Fields, club secretary, John Barrett, said the event was a big success.

"The support we have had from everybody in the community since Tuesday night has been incredible," Mr Barrett said.

"There's been a lot of good football played and everybody seems to have really enjoyed themselves.

Teams from U7s to U15s took part in the tournament at Magdalen Playing Fields in Gorleston. Picture: Joseph NortonTeams from U7s to U15s took part in the tournament at Magdalen Playing Fields in Gorleston. Picture: Joseph Norton

"On Tuesday night we thought there was no chance of this going ahead so we're just delighted to have everybody here."

Shrublands FC launched a gofundmepage, backed by the Eastern Daily Press and Great Yarmouth Mercury, on Wednesday.

On Sunday it had raised almost £2,000.

Teams from around the country battled it out on the pitch. Picture: Joseph NortonTeams from around the country battled it out on the pitch. Picture: Joseph Norton

Co-chairman of the club, Andrew Hannah, said he was overwhelmed by the support the club had received.

He said: "Everybody in the community has been superb.

"We were all devastated on Tuesday night and now we're celebrating having put on a brilliant tournament.

Harvey and Charlie Chapman of Kirkley & Pakefield Cobras. Picture: Joseph NortonHarvey and Charlie Chapman of Kirkley & Pakefield Cobras. Picture: Joseph Norton

"It just goes to show what great community spirit there is in this area."

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Great Yarmouth Town Football Club raised £500 at their match with Diss Town on Wednesday night following a bucket collection and raffle while Lowestoft-based Harrod Sport donated a number of pieces of sport equipment.

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

Teams from U7s to U15s took part in the two-day tournament with Shrublands FC reaching the latter stages in a handful of the age groups.

Samantha Corrigan, whose son, Edward, plays for Shrublands U12s, described the positive impact the club has had on her son.

Mrs Corrigan said: "Edward plays football with much more confidence now thanks to the help of the coaches.

"Shrublands is a great club to be part of and I'm so pleased with all the support they have received."

On Thursday, a teenage boy was arrested in connection with the fire but was later released under investigation.

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