Harold Hill club set alight ten minutes after bartender leaves

A bartender left a popular sports and social club just ten minutes before the building, still displaying bunting from a royal wedding party, was set on fire.

Barry Galpin had locked up Hendersons Sports and Social Club, Kenilworth Avenue, Harold Hill, at around 9.15pm on Monday night and made the short journey home.

Just minutes later he returned after receiving a call an intruder alarm had gone off at the property.

The 61-year-old said: “There was a fire engine in front of me as I turned into the road, and I just got an ominous feeling.

“Then I saw the front of the building was on fire.

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“It happened so soon after I left, that whoever did it must have watched me lock up.”

The club, which held a party for the royal wedding on Friday, has been left badly damaged. Part of the roof has collapsed making some of the main room unusable, and it is not yet known how much it will cost to fix, or how long it will take.

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Stephen Key, chairman of the club, said: “We had a fantastic royal wedding party with people from the local community, and then we have had someone show no regard for us and the local community by doing this.

“We have been hit hard.”

Mr Key hopes the club, which hosts live music nights and is used by local groups including football teams, will be able to partition off the damaged part of the room and continue using the rest of the building.

The fire is currently under investigation by police, and a crime scene remained in place until 1pm on Tuesday.

Anyone with information on the fire call Romford police station on 0300 123 1212.

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