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Fire destroys 'iconic' clubhouse of major London archery club in Muswell Hill

PUBLISHED: 15:59 18 April 2012 | UPDATED: 20:10 18 April 2012

Alan Lake, Maggie Woolf and Steve Shaughnessy at the burned out clubhouse

Alan Lake, Maggie Woolf and Steve Shaughnessy at the burned out clubhouse

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

The clubhouse of one of the largest archery clubs in London was reduced to a burn-out shell after it was savaged by fire in the early hours of Friday morning (April 13).

Members of Aquarius Archery Club in Southern Road, Muswell Hill, were left distraught after their clubhouse went up in flames in a suspected arson attack.

Trophies, champion boards and beginner’s archery equipment worth several thousand pounds were also destroyed in the blaze, which firefighters tackled for three hours before it was brought under control.

Coaching organiser Maggie Woolf said: “It was soul-destroying. It’s really hard to describe. We felt so helpless. We were watching the fire and not able to do anything.

“I have been a member for 36 years. The members have put in so much effort. We have always been self-funded and have maintained and refurbished the clubhouse.

“It was an iconic sports pavilion. The BBC used it in one of their programmes as it still looked like it had on the day it was built.”

“Most people say that Friday 13 is an inauspicious day, but it wasn’t for us. It was the end of Aquarius Archery Club as we know it.”

The club has been operating from the site since 1966, while the clubhouse - originally a tennis, lawn and social club - was built in 1923.

Members rallied together the following day, setting up a tent on the green, so that they could shoot.

Ms Woolf added: “The Dunkirk spirit is alive. We will not be beaten by this, We are like the phoenix that will rise from the ashes and be born anew.”

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