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Dagenham rugby club launches fundraiser to pay for equipment destroyed by arsonists

PUBLISHED: 17:00 31 May 2019

The fire inside the equipment storage container caused extensive damage. Picture: Dagenham Rugby Club.

The fire inside the equipment storage container caused extensive damage. Picture: Dagenham Rugby Club.

Archant

An amateur rugby club has been told their insurance won't cover thousands of pounds worth of "irreplaceable" equipment set alight by vandals recently.

Dagenham Rugby Union Football Club now has to reply on fundraising after losing almost all of its training and pitch equipment when a large storage container was torched.

Vice-chairman Russell Yellop said the storage container, located behind the clubhouse, isn't covered by insurance as it is not part of the main building.

The club has set up a GoFundMe page for donations to help buy new equipment and have raised just over £4,000 in a week, including £1,915 collected from its annual awards ceremony night on May 25.

"We need to raise as much as we can," Mr Yellop said.

"With all the stuff we had, when it accumulates over the years, it's basically irreplaceable.

"There was so much of it, you're never going to buy that much again."

The equipment the club had acquired over the years included scrum machines, tackle bags for adults and juniors, post protectors, corner flags and other items.

It was also used by the local community, including schools and holiday camps that use the club's facilities.

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The total damage bill is not known, but Mr Yellop estimated it could be more than £15,000.

Companies that donate £25 or more will be entered in a raffle for the chance to have their logo printed on new post protectors or corner flags.

Fifty people have donated so far, including well-wishers from other clubs.

Mr Yellop said as an amateur club, every donation helped - no matter how big or small - as they look to replace some of the items in time for the next season.

"If we can raise about £8,000, that should be sufficient - for next season, at least," he said.

Police are investigating the cause of the fire, which started about 11pm on Saturday, May 18.

The club believes the bottom of the container doors were forced open before the fire was lit inside.

Mr Yellop was wary that the vandals may not be caught and could strike again.

He said: "All we can do is be vigilant and hope other people keep their eye out, too."

Visit www.gofundme.com/dagenham-rufc-new-equipment-fund to donate.

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