South Tyneside sports clubs fighting back after Storm Arwen

Sports clubs in South Tyneside are fighting back after the devastation caused by Storm Arwen.

The grounds of Boldon CA FC and South Shields Westoe Rugby Club both suffered damage as extremely high winds struck the borough on November 26/27. At South Shields Westoe the roof was taken off, making changing rooms, offices and toilets unusable.

At the Boldon Colliery Welfare Ground the stand, paid for by fundraising and built by the club community over a three-month period, was swept away by the wind to the next football pitch along.

But now officials and supporters of both clubs are showing a real can-do attitude and intend to play their games, as per their respective fixture lists.

Storm Arwen damage at South Shields and Westoe Club. Picture by Duncan Murray.

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Duncan Murray is chairman at Westoe, where temporary changing facilities are in place. They face Medicals at home on Saturday, December 4.

Duncan said: “We haven’t as yet had the adjusters out, so we’re a little bit up in the air at the moment. But we’ve been around for 170 years and this is not going to put us off. The ground has been here for 153 years. It’s all hands to the pump this week.

“We’ve got no power as yet, but we’re getting temporary facilities in place, such as marquees. We’ve asked South Tyneside Council for dispensation. The club is hoping the fixtures will go ahead.”

In the football world Boldon CA are equally defiant. They have applied to the Football Foundation emergency fund for £2,000 to help with repairs. Their club house was unaffected, although their stand remains uprooted and some areas are taped off to spectators.

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Damage to the stand at Boldon CA after Storm Arwen. Picture by Kevin Brady.

Chairman Kevin Oliver said: “You can’t let storms stop you. We’re playing without a stand, but we hope to have it rebuilt.

“We just need people to come through the gate to help us rebuild. We’re hoping for a big crowd.”

Boldon are at home to Sunderland West End at 3pm on Saturday, December 4.

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Hebburn Town FC also suffered when Storm Arwen caused a floodlight to fall and also damaged fencing in and around the ground, putting upcoming home fixtures in jeopardy. But they too are making plans to recover from the storm.

Director of football, Stephen Rutherford, said: "The damage is tragic, mother nature has firmly kicked us in the teeth.”

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Union Flag still flying despite Storm Arwen devastation at Dougie's Tavern

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