Cricket club reveals plans for temporary facilities after suspected arson attack destroyed pavilion

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A long-standing cricket club in Bushy Park has revealed how it plans to keep operating after a suspected arson attack destroyed its pavilion. Hampton Wick Royal Cricket Club (HWRCC), which was founded in 1863, has applied to Richmond Council to set up temporary facilities while it puts together permanent plans to rebuild the club pavilion.

It comes after the club was left without essential facilities including changing rooms, showers and toilets when the pavilion burnt down in a suspected arson attack in the early hours of September 7. It had stood on the site since 1989 after the club’s original pavilion burnt down in 1901, followed by its replacement burning down in 1988.

The club is also home to Harlequins Amateurs Rugby Club, Bedfont Sports FC, Kingston College Football Academy and other community groups.

Jack Le Feuvre, member of HWRCC, said the suspected arson attack came as a huge shock shortly after the club’s adult league season finished last year. He said the pavilion was a hub for the local community, including hosting networking meetings, fitness groups and charity Christmas dinners for care leavers.

Mr Le Feuvre said: “It really hit not just those directly involved with the cricket club but those in the wider club community and actually in the local network of Hampton Wick really, really hard because the club has… stood on the same site for 160 years. It’s a big loss to all of us really.”

The Met Police said officers were called by the London Fire Brigade to reports of a fire at the cricket club shortly after 4am on September 7. There were no reported injuries.

The spokesperson said: “An investigation into the cause of the fire was carried out, including taking eyewitness statements and carrying out a thorough review of local CCTV in the area. While the cause of the fire is believed to be arson, it has not been possible to identify any suspects.”

Mr Le Feuvre said the club received an ‘unbelievable amount of support’ in the months since the fire. He said: “The support we’ve had from across the game of cricket, from the local community, from beyond the local community has really been overwhelming at times and we as a club are so grateful and so thankful for everybody that has sent well wishes, has given time, has given money, has given advice.”

Mr Le Feuvre said the club is planning to rebuild the pavilion as soon as possible, with the aim to ‘build back better’ to serve the club and local community. He said it aims to be the ‘most inclusive sports club in London’ and wants the new pavilion to reflect this.

In the meantime, the club has submitted plans to install four modular cabins at the edge of the pitch to temporarily provide the facilities it lost – including accessible facilities for disabled people. Two cabins will be used as changing rooms if the plans are approved, while one will be used as a kitchen and the other will be used for accessible toilets. The plans also involve installing a marquee to the north of the pitch to be used as a temporary club room. The club’s adult league season starts on May 11.

Mr Le Feuvre said the club is confident it will be able to offer members ‘as normal as possible an experience’ while it progresses plans to rebuild the pavilion. He said: “We appreciate that things are going to look a little bit different but we are very much open for business. We’re always looking for new players. We’re always looking for non-player members. Everyone is truly welcome at Hampton Wick, irrespective of how good they are at cricket.”

The club is still fundraising to rebuild the pavilion, while also exploring available grants. “We’re off to a good start but we know that there’s a lot of work left to do,” Mr Le Feuvre added.

The JustGiving page for the club’s fundraiser is here.

Richmond Council will decide on the club’s application for temporary facilities in due course.

Image one: The pavilion at Hampton Wick Royal Cricket Club before it burnt down.

Images two and three: The site after the suspected arson attack at Hampton Wick Royal Cricket Club.

Image four: Emergency services attending the fire at Hampton Wick Royal Cricket Club on September 7, 2023. Credits: Hampton Wick Royal Cricket Club, provided in Richmond Council documents


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