Hull University Boat Club rowers pulling together after arson attack
A UNIVERSITY sports club is looking to bounce back after arsonists targeted their boathouse.
Members of Hull University Boat Club were devastated in September after fire ripped through its base in Oak Road, rendering a major part of the building useless.
The club, which has been running since 1947, was left without water and electricity.
Now, members at the club are aiming to raise more than £1,000 to refurbish the building and restore the club to its former glory.
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Daniel Reynolds, president at the club, said the club is determined to recover from this damage.
"The arson attack couldn't have come at a worse time for us with students coming back to university," he said.
"We were looking forward to welcoming freshers and prospective new members to the club. That is the most important time for any sports club.
"If we took them down to see a burnt out building, it wouldn't have given a great first impression so we had to pull together to make the boathouse presentable.
"We had fantastic support and we were able to turn the clean-up, which included the freshers, into a social event."
The fire ripped through the ground floor of the two-storey building, destroying rowing equipment, team photographs and trophies.
The social area and changing rooms were also destroyed along with six new life jackets, which the club had just taken delivery of, each costing about £120.
The first floor of the building, which housed the club's boats and other rowing equipment, suffered severe smoke damage.
Daniel, a fourth-year student at the university, said the attack was a "mindless act".
"There is no clear reason why they broke in and set fire to the boathouse," he said. "Nothing was stolen. It just seemed like these people had nothing better to do.
"The club has a lot of history and we lost a lot of things that were very sentimental.
"A lot of memories were lost including signed oars and photographs from ten and 20 years ago."
Daniel said the impact of the fire on the club could have been much worse.
"Luckily, we were able to save all of our boats but they have been left with a yellow tinge which doesn't look very good when we turn up to competitions," he said.
"We have very little funding from the university so if we lost the boats we would not have been able to replace them straightaway."
Since the fire, the crews have been working without electricity, showers, toilets or changing rooms, and, due to a lack of funding, have only just taken steps to restore some of these.
To raise the money needed to refurbish the building and replace some of the lost equipment and facilities, the club has organised a 24-hour sponsored ergo – a static row on dry land.
Almost 50 members of the 100-strong boat club will take part in the fundraising event on February 22 with a goal of raising a minimum of £1,000.
Daniel, 22, is hoping the event will be a big success and help carry the club forward.
He said: "British Rowing has pledged its support and helped raise the profile of our event but we still need a lot of local support. Any help would be greatly appreciated by everyone at the club."
Visit the club's fundraising page at www.gogetfunding.com