‘We must catch the arsonists’ pleads Lutterworth Golf Club captain after huge fire

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The devastated club captain of Lutterworth Golf Club is today getting behind the police appeal to find the “disgusting” criminals who burned down their historic clubhouse.

Toby Deas issued his emotional SoS as detectives hunt the arsonists who torched their 117-year-old clubhouse on Rugby Road, Lutterworth, last Saturday night.

The ferocious blaze razed the heart of their club to the ground as 40 firefighters from all over the district battled flames which tore hundreds of feet up into the night sky.

An aerial view of the fire damage at Lutterworth Golf Club. Photo by Andrew Carpenter.
An aerial view of the fire damage at Lutterworth Golf Club. Photo by Andrew Carpenter.

Talking today after police confirmed the fire was started deliberately, shocked Toby told the Harborough Mail: “We are absolutely disgusted by the people who could do this to us and destroy our much-loved clubhouse.

“It is devastating what they have done to our club.

“As I’ve said, we are all totally devastated by what’s happened.”

Club captain since 2019 and a club member for six years, he added: “We are still very much coming to terms with this.

The fire at Lutterworth Golf Club (photo by Leics Fire Service).

“We just all hope that the police will find who ever did this as soon as possible.”

Toby revealed that they are now set to throw the club back open to players tomorrow (Saturday) after being forced to close the highly-rated course since they were targeted last weekend.

“We are ready for members to go out and play again tomorrow.

“It will be good to see people playing golf at our fantastic club again,” he said.

A golf club spokeswoman said they will be updating their 700 or so members today that the catastrophic inferno was started by arsonists.

Det Insp Charles Edwards, of South Leicester, Harborough and Wigston CID, said: “Following an examination of the scene, this incident is being treated as arson.”

Appealing to any eye-witnesses or anyone with any information to contact police, he said: “I would like to speak to anyone who was near the golf club – in Rugby Road – on Saturday evening.

“Did you see anyone going acting in a way that seemed unusual or suspicious?

“Did you see anyone leaving the area shortly after 10pm?

“Motorists with dashcams in their vehicles or anyone who was in the area may be able to help our investigation.

“Any information you have could prove invaluable,” said Det Insp Edwards.

No one has yet been arrested.

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service said today: “This fire was started by deliberate ignition.

“But we cannot say any more about how the fire was actually started because this is still very much under investigation.”

Toby Deas told the Mail earlier this week as the highly-respected golf club reacted to the gigantic blow: “We have lost so much history, so much memorabilia, so many treasured photographs in this fire.

“Buildings can be replaced – but our history and heritage is totally irreplaceable, it’s priceless.

“We have got about 700 members who come here from all over this area – Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire.

“They all love our fantastic club.

“So this has come as a terrible shock to all of us.”

He added: “In the hallway lobby we had dozens of photos of years and years of past presidents stretching back to the start.

“They have all gone now,” said Toby, who lives in Lutterworth.

“Our members hail from all over the Lutterworth area as well as Rugby, Northampton and Daventry and beyond.

“It’s very hard to believe and take in what’s happened.

“It’s especially tough because we had just opened up again three weeks ago on Monday April 12 after being shut for so long during the lockdowns.

“We will rebuild and we will bounce back.

“We have a lot of hope for the future.

“We have had so much support already from our members, other local golf clubs, the general public,” said Toby, a director of locally-based Deaselec Ltd, which specialises in commercial and industrial maintenance and installation.

“We have been overwhelmed by the numbers of calls, texts and messages we’ve had from people.

“People are really getting behind us – and we fully appreciate that.”

The shattered golf club said in a powerful statement: “The past year has been incredibly difficult and impactful on our loyal members and staff.

“It’s almost impossible to describe the sadness or say how devastated everyone connected with Lutterworth Golf club feel – staff, members and the local community alike.

“We would like to say thank you for the 100s of messages of support and offers of help.

“It’s uplifting to know that Lutterworth Golf Club is a much loved asset of our community,” said the club.

“We were all looking forward to welcoming visitors back to our great golf course to play in our mixed open competition on Sunday.

“Instead, we woke to the shocking news that our clubhouse had been razed to the ground by a fire that started late on Saturday evening. “The cause of the fire is not yet known, but we are extremely thankful that no one was at the golf club at the time of the fire.

“A fire investigation is under way – as soon as this is completed the course will re-open to members.

“The club’s directors and officials met late on Sunday afternoon to put the recovery plans in place to ensure that our loyal members can continue to enjoy playing the course while we work with our insurers on providing temporary facilities as soon as possible and a permanent replacement in the longer term.

“Lutterworth Golf Club, founded in 1904, has a long and resilient history.

“The directors and club officials are all fully committed to the mammoth task ahead to replace our clubhouse and facilities.”

Saluting firefighters and police, the club added: “Our sincere thanks to the Lutterworth Fire and Rescue Service and surrounding counties, and Leicestershire Police for their fast, professional and continued response to this incident.

“We are truly grateful to everyone for their good wishes, the offers of help and support we have received from our members, neighbouring golf clubs, Leicestershire & Rutland Golf Union and the local community.

“It’s heartwarming at this difficult time, they really do mean a lot to us all.”

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