Fundraising appeal after arson at football pavilion

November 28 2018

A FOOTBALL club attacked by arsonists is urging continued support for a fundraising campaign set up to cover costs.

The fire in October, at Blackhorse Community and Sports Pavilion in Mangotsfield, tore through a disused wooden water tower causing thousands of pounds’ damage.

The facility is the headquarters of Mangotsfield Junior FC and AFC Mangotsfield, which has six teams from the juniors and five from the senior club based at the site in Dibden Lane.

The club had hoped not to have to go through their insurers but due to the extent of the damage, they had no choice.

It means the club has to pay a £1,000 excess fee which they hope to cover from an online fundraising page set up by chairman Colin Sutton.

He wrote on the page: “This act of malicious criminal damage could potentially ruin the football environment of 100s of boys, girls, seniors and volunteers at the club. It is also used for vital community groups during the week.” 

The fire broke out around 4pm on Monday October 22. One of the team managers alerted club secretary Pete Brown who dashed down from his home in Staple Hill.

"It only took me a few minutes but by the time I got there the place was well alight. There were about three fire engines there," he said.

"I thought the whole place was going to go up as there were a lot of flames coming from it. I realised it was just the housing around the old water tower but there was still a massive danger of the whole flat roof, which is on top of all the changing rooms and showers, being burned down. It was only thanks to the fire brigade for being so quick that this didn't happen."

At the time of going to print the crowdfunding web page had raised £833.

Mr Brown said: "We've had a good response from people in the area and from club members but if we could just raise a bit more, it would be fantastic. People have been great which shows that people really care about the facility. I'd like to thank everyone for their support."

Apart from some painting, all the damage has now been repaired, Mr Brown said.

"The fire completely damaged all the felt on the roof. The lights were fused and needed to be rewired and some light fittings had to be replaced.

"The roof and the electrics have now been sorted so we now need a lick of paint to try to get rid of the smell of smoke which is still lingering around.

"We have volunteers ready to do the work, we're just waiting for the paint to arrive and for a rain-free day or weekend to carry out the work."

Despite the damage, no matches had to be postponed. 

A fundraising event, however, was cancelled because of the smell but is expected to be rescheduled.

Police are still appealing for anyone with information to come forward. Call the police on 101, quoting reference 5218 236 525, if you can help.

If you would like to donate to the football club's online appeal, please visit bit.ly/2ScGsc3