West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service

Sports equipment destroyed in bank holiday fire at school

Neville Dalton

The sports pavilion ablaze at The Prebendal School in Chichester
West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
Fire fighters were called at about 21:00 on Monday

A football club has been left without most of its equipment after a fire wrecked the school sports pavilion where it was stored.

Whyke United, which operates eight youth teams and a men's side, lost its goals and training equipment in the blaze at The Prebendal School fields in Chichester, on Monday night.

The school, which claims to be the oldest in Sussex, has allowed the club use of the pavilion since last season. It also lost property in the fire.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said "100%" of the pavilion and contents were destroyed by fire and smoke.

Whyke United club secretary Martin Tucker said the equipment was worth around £2,000.

He said: "We're wholly volunteer-based, run as not-for-profit, so anything we make during one season is spent the following season. It means a lot of frantic phone calls to kit suppliers and equipment suppliers to see what they can do to replace it."

Club volunteers had just finished building a kitchen extension at the property for use by the club and the school. "Sadly, all that work went out the window last night," said Mr Tucker. "It's devastating."

The Prebendal School bursar, Mark Chapman, said staff were "saddened" by the destruction and added in a statement: "We will ensure that our sport provision is unaffected by this setback, which will bring forward our plans to build a new multi-purpose space for sport and education in time for the 900th anniversary of the school."

Police are investigating the cause of the fire, which began at about 21:00 BST on Monday.

The wrecked sports hut
West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
West Sussex fire service said "100% of the pavilion and its contents" were destroyed by fire and smoke
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