Devastated tennis club members sift through ashes after fire
A FEW tins of tennis balls and the tarnished plaque commemorating the building's opening last year, is all that's left after a fire destroyed the Joan Nicol Tennis Centre at Terranora earlier this month.
Committee members have finally been allowed access to the site.
Late last week they sifted through the ashes and debris to salvage what they could but, "heartbreakingly", there isn't much to keep.
In a press release issued last night, the club said police had now confirmed the fire, which destroyed the tennis centre in the early hours of November 3, was deliberately lit after a robbery.
"Police are currently following leads in their investigation into the perpetrators and ask the community to assist by calling Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 if they have any information at all that may be useful," the club said.
"The committee and members of Tennis Terranora are, heartbreakingly, coming to the realisation of all that was lost to the club.
"Forty years of equipment including a ball machine, five brand new tennis court nets that were about to replace those on the courts, a juke box, barbecues, table tennis table, new furniture, new TV, plus all kitchen fittings and tennis equipment.
"Obviously these things can be eventually replaced, but old photographs, trophies and paraphernalia cannot.
"Luckily, the Honour Board can be recommissioned, after it was discovered that a member has video footage of the board.
"The Joan Nicoll Tennis Centre clubhouse was the culmination of an enormous effort by club committees and members over the last 15 years.
"Tens of thousands of dollars was raised by fundraising efforts, plus grants were obtained from the Federal, State and Local Governments.
"Thousands of man-hours were put into the completion of the building and tennis courts by club members and volunteers as well as local business personnel.
"The tennis club is a community asset, on Tweed Shire Council land, available to all."
Full daytime tennis activities are expected to resume next week, after the arrival of temporary club rooms.
The remnants of the old building will be demolished as soon as insurers give the go-ahead.
The club will be holding fundraising events in the near future and they are also calling for donations. Visit the Tennis Terranora website and Facebook pages.
For more information on how to help, phone club secretary Debbie on 0427 069 317.