Arson victims reopen sports clubhouse

A HITCHIN sports club has opened up its new clubhouse, after the former one was burnt down in an arson attack nearly two years ago.

Hitchin Lawn Tennis Club’s former wooden clubhouse in Bancroft Park was destroyed in September 2009 after it was set on fire.

Members of the club were left distraught at the loss of their meeting place, which they had used for 25 years.

But balloons and bunting were out in force last week, when the club officially launched its new tennis clubhouse in an opening ceremony.

“We had a lot of rain which was a shame, but it didn’t seem to put people off too much and it was a good day,” said chairman Diane Coe.

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“Everyone is really pleased that the clubhouse has reopened, it’s taken work, but we got there.

“There’s quite a few people I want to thank who helped the club recover from the fire.

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“Among them are the Hitchin councillors who supported the club’s efforts to obtain permission to replace the building, county councillor Ray Shakespeare-Smith who gave a locality budget scheme grant to replace equipment lost in the fire, and Letchworth based Altro Flooring who generously provided the clubhouse flooring.

“Further help, at no cost, came from Stuart Pledge from the Hitchin based Structural and Civil Engineering practice, who directed the planning and construction phases of the building.”

The ceremony was attended by members of the club, as well as Hitchin councillor Judi Billing, who cut the ribbon to officially open the building.

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