A ‘heartbreaking’ fire has destroyed a historic rugby clubhouse

Volunteers at Deri Mini RFC in Hengoed, have vowed to keep their team playing this season after the blaze tore through the historic clubhouse, destroying the building

Community devastated after Deri Mini RFC building is burnt down

Community devastated after Deri Mini RFC building is burnt down

A historic rugby clubhouse has been destroyed by a deliberate fire – but volunteers say they will carry on playing.

Volunteers at Deri Mini RFC in Hengoed in the Rhymney Valley, have vowed that they will keep their teams playing this season despite the blaze destroying the building.

Firefighters were called to New Road in the village at 9.07pm on Friday according to a spokesman for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

Meanwhile Gwent Police has confirmed they are treating the blaze as an act of arson.

A spokesman for the force said: “The fire is being treated as deliberate. Anyone with information relating to this incident is asked to call 101 quoting log 541 02/09/16.”

Community devastated after Deri Mini RFC building is burnt down

Community devastated after Deri Mini RFC building is burnt down

Nathan Jenkins, who owns the Deri Post Office & General Stores with his partner Edward Evans, saw the blaze.

“I’ve never seen a fire like that in my life,” Nathan said.

Community devastated after Deri Mini RFC building is burnt down

Community devastated after Deri Mini RFC building is burnt down

“It was quite scary. It was heartbreaking.”

He added: “It was pitiful, to be honest. A lot of people cared about the clubhouse.”

Writing on Facebook on the morning after the fire, Jason O’ Keeffe said: “Such a sad sight. The first mini RFC around here and a lot of history has been lost. A lot of people waking up in Deri feeling gutted this morning.”

Community devastated after Deri Mini RFC building is burnt down

Community devastated after Deri Mini RFC building is burnt down

The building is mainly used by the under 7s, under 8s and under 9s. It had been used less frequently in recent years as the junior teams also use the club’s facilities on Mill Road.

But the building had a storied past according to club secretary Graham Mayo.

Community devastated after Deri Mini RFC building is burnt down

Community devastated after Deri Mini RFC building is burnt down

He said: “Theres a lot of history in that club, where local people from the village built it with their own hands,” he said. “It’s all gone in one criminal act.”

The club has around 150 members has vowed to continue its season as normal.

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