From the EDP on 9th December 2008
by ED FOSS
A suspected arson attack on a village football clubhouse has destroyed the valued facility - and it has also robbed a community of treasured documents, one of which has a connection with a former player who died in a tragic skiing accident.
The weekend blaze at Gimingham football club destroyed the building almost completely and has left the remaining walls in a dangerous state. The building housed a bar, pool table, toilets and home and away changing rooms.
But it is the loss of historical documentation which will have the greatest effect, said club chairman Robert Grand.
One of the many items burned was a photograph of the Gimingham team shortly after winning the prized Primary Cup in 1995.
At the time, the win was dedicated to 20-year-old Paul Gentle by his twin brother Keith. Paul had died just days before the Primary Cup final against Terrington St Clement. A star player at Gimingham, he had been seriously injured in a skiing accident in February 1995 and died the next month, having never recovered.
“Everyone is very upset about the loss of the clubhouse,” said Mr Grand.
“Most of the village gathered on Sunday morning to watch what was happening.
“But on top of losing the clubhouse, all of our history is gone, minutes of meetings, photographs, the lot.
“The main thing people will be upset about, though, is the picture of the winning Primary Cup side in the same season that Paul Gentle died.
“At the end of the cup final, Paul's twin brother Keith dedicated the win to his brother, it was a very special moment for everyone.”
Mr Grand said he had been in contact with insurers and the FA since the fire.
The insurance situation was not yet fully clear, he said, and there were concerns that the building was underinsured.
The immediate circumstances have seen the next home game against nearby Mundesley changed to an away fixture. And in the medium term it was hoped to bring in some portable buildings for changing and storage, plus footballs and other vital kit.
Gimingham had beaten Erpingham 11-2 just hours before the fire. Gimingham has two teams, one playing in the first division of the North East Norfolk Football League and another in the third division.
Two teenagers have been arrested following the fire, which took hold at around 6am on Sunday morning, as reported in yesterday's EDP. A 14-year-old and a 16-year-old from the North Walsham area have been arrested, police confirmed.