Arson-hit church football team rises from ashes
By Keith Morris
2009: A Norwich
church football team has risen from the ashes of a devastating arson attack in June when it lost all its equipment, to now form a new club with three teams all playing in the local Christian Football League.
In June, an arson attack completely gutted The Kabin community centre next to the Heartsease Towers in Norwich, destroying £700 of equipment from Witard Road Baptist Church FC, who won the Norfolk Christian Football League title last season.
Witard Road FC manager, Mike Culwick, said: “We lost all our equipment, including two sets of goals, three sets of nets, training bibs, all our footballs, my line marker and line marking materials and training cones. We also lost a respect pack, pumps, first aid stuff and cans of spray line markers.”
But Mike, local football coach Nick Lewis and Rev Nick Collinson from Heartsease Lane Methodist, were determined that they would not be beaten and vowed to form a new club and start again.
Mike said: "The football club started ten years ago and it is our intention to build on a firm foundation not made up of medals and silverware but on friendships, relationships and do our part to bring together the community which makes up the Heartsease. We do not see this fire as a tragedy but as an opportunity to see how good will overcome evil."
“Nick Collinson was very keen for his church to become involved with this venture for young people on the estate and surrounding area. So, Witard Road is no more and Heartsease Churches FC has arisen from the ashes and began the new season with the adult team and an Under 12 and Under 14 (pictured above) teams playing in the Norfolk Christian Football League.”
Support came from all quarters and the team now have three new sets of goals (one of which they have lent to a Sheringham Under 12 team), a new line marker, lots of footballs, training equipment, training bibs and a fireproof container to store everything in on site at Sale Road.
Mike said: “A big thank you to Open Academy who sponsored the adults, The Frying Machine on Furze Road who sponsors the youth teams and Norwich City Council and City Care for supplying equipment, and the School Wear shop for training bibs and footballs.