These are the first shocking pictures showing the full scale of the devastation arsonists caused to a Shrewsbury boxing club last week.
They were released as big names in the boxing world such as Lennox Lewis’ former promoter Frank Maloney and Shropshire’s former boxing world champion Richie Woodhall joined the campaign to save the Shrewsbury Amateur Boxing Club.
The images show in graphic detail how more than £15,000 of damage was caused to the John Davies Boxing Centre, on Smithfield Road, last Sunday after arsonists broke in, stole a television, and set the headquarters alight.
- Scroll down for video of the fire damage
The club, which was founded in 1960, has also released an eight minute YouTube video of the fire damage which has already attracted close to 200 hits.
It shows smoke-damaged boxing gloves, punch bags and wall brackets destroyed by the blaze.
Even the former brass boxing bell has been damaged by the flames.
But support for the campaign to save the club is growing, with more than 380 people signing an online petition including Frank Maloney who is most famous for managing Lennox Lewis to the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship of the World.
People have left messages on the petition highlighting how important the club is to people.
Terry Morrison, of Blyth, in Northumberland, said: “Places like this keep kids off the street, which means less crime.”
And Shrewsbury resident Adam Chaytor added: “The local boxing club is an important and integral part of our town where people of all ages can train and enjoy boxing and young talent can be nurtured.
“With the amateur profile of boxing raised so high with Olympic success it’s something our town needs.”
Birmingham resident Tina Lakeru said: “I work with young people coaching and encouraging others into sport. A few years ago, my football club house in London suffered the same, we were all devastated.
“It should not happen! We’ve just held the best Olympics ever and many young people are truly inspired.
“Shrewsbury needs a place for young people to go and learn discipline, dedication and respect.”
Shropshire sporting hero Richie Woodhall, who retired from boxing in 2002, has also backed the campaign and contacted the Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) on behalf of the club where he used to train.
Telford resident Graham Robb, who runs the club, said: “It is brilliant to be getting the support from top people in the boxing world. Getting the backing off people like Frank Maloney shows we are making strides in our efforts to save the club.
“Richie spoke to the ABA for us and they have sent us a variety of forms for grants which we can apply for. When people see these images I hope they can really appreciate for the first time how bad the damage really was. This wasn’t a small fire and everything has been destroyed.”
But Mr Robb admitted the club, which has more than 250 members, was still in limbo after a meeting with Shropshire Council chiefs on Monday.
“They are going to try and rehome us but have warned us that they have no obligation to and they will decide what will happen at a meeting on October 18. It’s just a waiting game now and it’s a bit frustrating that it is dragging on until next month,” he said.
The club has been holding two sessions a week for just 10 members, instead of the normal five weekly sessions, at the Britannia Inn, in Castle Foregate, Shrewsbury, while their future is decided.
Mr Robb added: “We’ve had a couple of brilliant offers from people including The Grange Village Hall who have offered us the function room, but the problem is we don’t have any equipment and what we do have, probably wouldn’t be appropriate for a function room.”