A former Premier League footballer has pledged his support to a local football club, after an "awful" fire destroyed their equipment storage unit.

Jack Collison, who in his professional career played for the likes of West Ham and the Welsh national team, has vowed to help Shefford Saints Football Club, after the storage container - which holds the club's equipment - caught fire yesterday afternoon.

The former Samuel Whitbread Academy student replied to Shefford Saints' Facebook plea to see what he could do to help the club - who lost matchday and training equipment for all of its players.

In a post, Shefford Saints said on Tuesday, April 13: "With deepest regret, tonight at between 3.30pm and 5.00pm at Shefford Sports Club on Hitchin Road, our container that stores all Shefford Saints corner flags, respect barriers training equipment has been set a light and destroyed.

With deepest regret, tonight at between 3.30pm and 5.00pm at Shefford sports club on Hitchin Road our container that...

Posted by Shefford Saints Juniors official on Tuesday, 13 April 2021

"All the equipment facilitates our home matches and training for 380 players, who have only been back at football for just over one week due to restrictions."

The GoFundMe page - which was set up just hours ago - has already raised more than £1,500 of their £2,000 target to raise much-needed funds to replace the torched equipment.

Both Robert Bloomfield and Henlow Academies have also pledged their support by holding a non-school uniform day to raise funds to replace the club's damaged equipment.

The club's vice chair, Stewart Knight, told the Comet: "It's been a bit of hectic 24 hours.

"Thankfully, everyone's been so generous - not only parents but local youth football teams, which is great.

"The amazing amount of effort that gets pulled in from the community is amazing, it really is."

The football club is appealing for any witnesses, or those who may have dashcam footage, to come forward.

"Even if it's just the littlest things they've seen, it could make all the difference.

"We want to get to the bottom of it to make sure it doesn't happen again, and unfortunately we've been the victims in fact that, it's not just affected a couple of people, it's affected 30 plus football teams that use the facilities."

A spokesperson from Beds police said: “We are investigating a suspected arson in a container at Shefford sports club in Hitchin Road, Shefford.

“This happened between 3.30pm and 5pm on Tuesday (13 April).

“We are carrying out a number of enquiries and anyone with any information is urged to contact police via our website or 101.

“Please quote reference 40/18416/21.”

To donate to Shefford Saints' GoFundMe, click here.