Police investigate as fire at Chichester school destroys building

A fire at The Prebendal School last night has caused 'colossal' damage and has left a youth football team with nothing.

The fire, which is under investigation by police, was burning from around 9.30pm and caused extensive damage to the school's pavilion.

Pictures taken by WM Wills of Chichester C Watch

Pictures taken by WM Wills of Chichester C Watch

Chichester's oldest youth football team, Whyke United, also uses the pavilion to store goals, footballs, training poles and other equipment which was all destroyed in the blaze.

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Vicky Tucker who help to run the club said: “The club secretary has just spent the last three months building a kitchen in there. We have lost a lot but the school has lost more — the damage is colossal.

“It is just gutting because everyone has worked so hard to keep it going and keep signing up costs really low and everything has been raised through fundraising. All of it has gone.

"All the club managers and parents have been on the phone this morning asking to help and they have all come together as a group."

Pictures taken by WM Wills of Chichester C Watch

Pictures taken by WM Wills of Chichester C Watch

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Vicky said the club had put a message on Facebook and received messages about some 'very very upset children'.

"It's very sad that someone has done that, but the bright orange of Whyke United will continue," Vicky said.

A spokesman for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said the pavilion had been '100 per cent' destroyed in the fire.

They said: “Two fire engines from Chichester and one from Bognor were sent. A cricket hut was well alight and 100 per cent of the pavilion and its contents have been destroyed by fire and smoke.

“All of our crews left the scene by midnight. The fire is being investigated by the police."

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The bursar of The Prebendal School, Mark Chapman, said: “We were saddened to discover that our playing fields pavilion was seriously damaged by fire on Monday night. Our fields provide an excellent opportunity for our pupils and others to experience all types of sport.

"We will ensure that our sport provision is unaffected by this setback, which will bring forward our plans to build a new multi-purpose space for sport and education in time for the 900th anniversary of the school.”