A south Norfolk football club which was facing closure after an arson attack has praised the “incredible support” of the sporting and local community as it looks to get back on its feet.
Bunwell Sports Hall in Wood Lane was targeted by arsonists last month. It was the home of Bunwell AFC, formed only two years ago. Nets, balls, kits and training equipment, worth thousands of pounds, was lost in the fire, which gutted the building.
But less than a month on, manager Chunk Elphick-Wilson, 21, said things were “heading in the right direction” after a plethora of support from people, businesses and organisations.
Teams in their league have agreed to switch fixtures to give them a run of away games; match balls were donated by the Norfolk County FA; Bunwell Village Hall is allowing the team to use changing facilities; Macron in Norwich has provided a brand new kit which has also been sponsored by Cator Family Car Sales in Besthorpe.
A recently held charity game has helped raise £240, while a Just Giving page launched in the wake of the fire has donations totalling £639.
In all the adversity off the pitch, the team was even able to pick up its first victory on it, defeating FC Viking 4-3 in a Norwich Sunday League Division 2B fixture.
We have had an incredible level of support within the grassroots football communityBunwell AFC manager Chunk Elphick-Wilson
“We have had an incredible level of support within the grassroots football community,” said Mr Elphick-Wilson.
“All of us on the board are working really hard to do as much as we can to get things back on track. More than anything, everyone has come together to help us out.
“There is still a long way to go to get back to where we were but we were heading in the right direction.
“One thing getting us through this tough period we have had is that there is so much ambition from everyone.
“Only some of the future plans are in our control — but we definitely envisage the hall being rebuilt or redone and having that building as more than just changing facilities but a place for the local community to use, to get more things and fundraising going.
“People have given to us, so we would like to be in the position to one day give something back.”
If you can help Bunwell AFC, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bunwellAFC