'Light at the end of the tunnel' for arson hit football club as rebuild starts

Ben Flaxman at Southtown Common, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Ben Flaxman at Southtown Common, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

The chairman of a football team which saw its pavilion ravaged by fire says there is 'light at the end of tunnel' now work has started on building a replacement.

This week work started in Gorleston on rebuilding Claydon Pavilion on Southtown Common, which was home to Shrublands FC until the blaze in August 2019.

claydon pavilion

Clayon Pavilion pictured on Tuesday. it is being rebuilt after a fire ravaged through it - Credit: Danielle Booden

The club was forced to relocate with the support of the borough council to the Gorleston Recreation Ground to continue playing.

Club chairman Ben Flaxman was delighted that work had started on rebuilding the pavilion and said it would be a big boost for Shrublands' many youth and adult teams who play across the region.

He said: "It is the light at the end of the tunnel. It has been a very hard time for everyone here.

"But we are all really excited about it and it will bring stability to the club.

"The fire had affected everyone massively, from the youth teams to the adult teams and volunteers."

Shrublands temporarily play at the Gorleston Recreation Ground and part of the Southtown Common, but it was forced to pay for portaloos and cabins over the last two years.

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Mr Flaxman said the new pavilion could be open by the end of the year or early in 2022 and can not wait to try out its new facilities, such as a kitchen and spacious changing rooms.

He added: "People will be able to enjoy a tea, coffee and bacon sarnie on Saturdays. We will also have disabled access."

He is already planning an opening day event, a fun day, as a way of thanking everyone who has helped keep the club going and supported it during the last two disruptive years.

Funding for the new pavilion comes from the Premier League and The FA and the government's Football Foundation.

The fire that ravaged its headquarters was believed to have been deliberately started on a nearby bench on Southtown Common.

Shrublands FC was formed in 1988 and also has a Mini Shrubs section as well as youth and adult sides.

For information on the club visit its website at www.shrublandsfootballclub.co.uk