Cromer football clubhouse blow

A football clubhouse destroyed by yobs will remain out of action for the rest of the season - despite a generous donation to help the club get back on its feet.

A football clubhouse destroyed by yobs will remain out of action for the rest of the season - despite a generous donation to help the club get back on its feet.

The site at Cromer Football Club's Cabbell Park was wrecked during a late-night vandalism spree by Martin Bamford and Wayne Mackin four weeks ago which involved a four-hour stand-off with police.

The Mill Road venue is usually used for a number of events, entertaining teams after matches and has hosted special guests and VIPs attending the Cromer Lifeboat Cup final for many years.

But this week general manager Les Frary said, although insurance claims were now going through, the clubhouse would be out of action for months.

He said: 'All the quotes are in now and have been accepted. This week they have told us we can start replacing all the glass. The lads have got excited about what they do next - but we still won't use it this football season.'

That is despite receiving a generous and unexpected donation from a businessman in Old Catton.

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Nick Chandler, who runs egg supplier Hi Breeds International, sent two cheques after contacting club - one for �800 to help refurbish the building, and another for �200 to help replenish a charity tin, raising money for toddler Ella-Grace Honeyman, which was also destroyed.

Mr Frary said: 'It's amazing that someone would read that and donate. He said 'I felt I need to do something to help the club'.'

Mr Chandler, who has no ties with the football team, said he had made the donation in memory of his school friend David Mielsch - a well-known figure in Cromer who passed away nine years ago.

He said: 'I had been trying to think of a memorial for David for some time. I read the article about the damage and it hit a chord really. I thought 'he would like that'.'

A decision about how to use the money has not yet been made but Mr Frary said it would go a long way to help the club.

The team will now work hard to make sure the clubhouse is looking at its best for next season. Mr Frary said: 'We are on the way back. Everyone's prepared to do whatever they can.'

Derek Hinds, chairman of the Cromer Lifeboat Cup competition, said the final would still be played at Cabbell Park but all hospitality before and after the game would be cancelled. He said: 'It is a major setback but logistically it's too much to take it elsewhere. I'm still hopeful people will support the event. It's a shame for the club and for the competition - but we will become stronger.'

The White Horse pub on West Street has stepped in to offer refreshments to teams after Cromer's remaining home fixtures.

Bamford, 23, and Mackin, 25, both admitted affray and causing criminal damage when they appeared in court on March 13. Bamford also admitted attempted burglary while Mackin pleaded guilty to burglary and stealing alcohol. Each was given a four-month prison sentence.

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