'Why would someone do this?' - Harrogate football club's heartbreak at arson attack

Club chairman Darren Casey, with the fire-hit building. Picture: Gerard Binks.
Club chairman Darren Casey, with the fire-hit building. Picture: Gerard Binks.

An arson-hit junior football club has praised the Harrogate community for its overwhelming support, after a heartbreaking week which saw children discovering that much of their treasured sports equipment has gone up in smoke.

More than 200 children from ages 5-13 play for the Killinghall Nomads, and why somebody would want to deliberately destroy something that brings these children so much joy, is a question that has sent waves of anger and bewilderment sweeping through Harrogate - prompting residents to raise nearly £4,000 to replace what has been senselessly damaged.

Firefighters were called to the club’s storeroom at Killinghall Moor Community Park after 5am on Sunday, and police have confirmed that they are investigating the incident as arson.

Club chairman Darren Casey said: “Everyone was feeling the same emotions - a mixture of anger, and a feeling of bewilderment, as to why someone would want to do this to a junior football club, and what they have actually got out of doing it.

“The storeroom was black with a very strong smell from the smoke. It was very saddening to see all that equipment burnt, melted or covered in a thick black layer of soot.

“This has been very damaging to the club, but more so to the children who play for it. This is equipment that they use to train with, Some age groups now don’t have that equipment, and the coaches can’t train the players to the high standards that they want to.

“The club is a charity that heavily relies on fundraising, sponsorship and donations to help cover our costs. These costs go up year on year, and so things like this put extra strain on the club’s finances, and in turn the ability to provide the best facilities and equipment possible for its members.”

But Darren said the supportive response from the Harrogate community shows that vandals will never win.

He said: “It makes you feel very positive and uplifted that the community appreciates and values what everyone at the club does for the children. This is reflected in the donations we’ve received, the offers from local people and businesses to do things for free to help put things back to how they were, and the offers of help and donations from other junior football clubs too.

“It makes you realise that mindless acts of criminal damage like this will not stop us doing what we all do, and that we have all that support behind us from the whole of the Harrogate community.”

To make a donation to help the club, visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/killinghallnomadsjfc