Club gets back to normal after fire

The scene after the crash. Picture by Malcolm Wells
The scene after the crash. Picture by Malcolm Wells

A ‘TRAUMATIC episode’ has failed to dent the positivity of a sailing club, as it again looks to the future.

An 82-year-old man is on bail after a car was driven into the wall of Emsworth Sailing Club and caught fire.

The club had only recently been the subject of a £350,000 redevelopment.

Speaking this week, the sailing club’s commodore Chris Clode said Daniells Harrison chartered surveyors had been appointed to project manage the rebuilding.

Mr Clode described it as a ‘well-respected local company’.

“We chose the team at Daniells Harrison after they were quick to respond to the call for help following the incident on Tuesday, April 22,” he said.

“We look forward to working with them to get our clubhouse repaired with the minimum of disruption to our members.”

Clifford Caughey, known as John, from Emsworth, remains on police bail until May 28 after being arrested on suspicion of arson.

Mr Clode said the chartered surveyors visited a week ago and did a ‘complete survey’ of all the damage caused and put together a specification of the repairs.

He said it was not yet known how much repairs would cost. The club intends to offer about three tenders, after which it will decide which company it wishes to carry out the work.

However, there remains a question mark over whether the work will take place immediately in the middle of the sailing season, or be left until the season has finished.

“The sailing site hasn’t been affected at all. All our club bars and dining room are unaffected,” added Mr Clode.

“It was a pretty traumatic episode, particularly for our franchisees,” he said.

Oliver and Eloise Clift and their two children were sleeping in their flat in the same part of the building, but were unhurt.

“We’re relieved that nobody was hurt and that the club is running as normally as can be expected.

“We hope that at the end of the day, once the repairs are done, the club will be in an even better place than it was before,” Mr Clode said.

Phil Harrison, the founding partner of Fareham-based Daniells Harrison, said: “We look forward to working with club members to restore the club house to its former position.”