Community cash helps rebuild club

Robert Stables & Lee Pickin with some of the junior footballers and their burnt-out cabin
Robert Stables & Lee Pickin with some of the junior footballers and their burnt-out cabin

THE KIND support and generosity of the community is helping get a football club get back on its feet.

Thousands of pounds have been promised to help fund Upton Football Club’s catering facility that was burnt out by arsonists earlier this month.

The flames caused around £20,000 worth of damage to the unit off Waggon Lane – which was the club’s primary source of funding.

It took firefighters around two hours to put out the fire that spread into the metal unit and completely destroyed all of its contents, which included an estimated £6,000 worth of equipment including fridges, freezers, tea urns and a cooker.

Since the Express reported this and appealed for financial assistance the police have pledged to give £1,000 from the Proceeds of Crime Acts Fund – cash seized from criminals and their illegal behaviour.

The Co-op store in Upton, has also applied for up to £2,000 worth of grants on behalf of the club.

And there are plans for Wakefield and District Housing to offer their apprentices to kit out and also provide kitchen units.

Chairman of the club Lee Pickin, was devastated by the fire, but said the generosity of the community has been phenomenal.

He said: “It has been overwhelming, more than I ever could have envisaged.”

This was the first time there had been problems surrounding the £14,000 cabin in the eight years since it had been there.

Mr Pickin added: “It was terrible for myself and the rest of the club when it happened but the support has made it that bit easier to deal with.”

The club provided food and drinks on match days to fund the club and its 200 child members.

South Kirkby Knights – who also used the facility – have joined forces with Upton United to hold a fun day and all proceeds will go to re-building the facility.

Mr Pickin said: “The South Kirkby Knights have gone out of their way to help and I can not thank them enough. Everyone has been great and it looks as if the unit will be even bigger and better than it was before.

“Thank you to everyone who has helped support us, it means the world.”

Three people have been arrested.

Insp Geoff Carter from the South East neighbourhood policing team said: “I was disgusted by the damage caused during this incident.

“The effects on the teams that use these facilities will be devastating and I will ensure to leave no stone unturned during this enquiry.

“I know the strong sense of community pride in Upton will mean we will be helped in our quest for information.”

If anyone would like to donate cash, or volunteer their time, contact Mr Pickin on 07782 365 710.