28 Aug 2015

Rugby club's history goes up in flames

7:05 pm on 28 August 2015

Former All Blacks who played at a historic Canterbury rugby club say they are devastated by the news that fire has destroyed its clubrooms.

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Photo: Supplied / Nick Hamilton

Fire ripped through the Glenmark Rugby Club's building overnight, destroying most of the club's memorabilia.

The club has set up a Givealittle page to help with the rebuild.

Robbie Deans during his time as an All Black.

Robbie Deans during his time as an All Black. Photo: PhotoSport

It has produced 10 All Blacks, including the Deans brothers and former All Black coach Alex Wylie.

Current Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder played for the club from 1992 to 2001.

He said its members worked hard over the years to build up its memorabilia collection, which has now all been lost.

"I suppose the memory that I enjoyed the most was just the feeling of being in the changing rooms before the game, and having a cold beer afterwards.

"And there's all the great people you meet along the way at the club, and they're really good, down-to-earth, hard-working people, which is probably why it's come as a shock to see that it's burned down."

Mr Blackadder said it was another blow for the North Canterbury community, who were struggling with drought.

Richard Loe, another former All Black, played at Glenmark in the 1970s and said the community would rally around the club.

"It was a small country club, very loyal to each other and to the district, and it's a great shame, because when you think about that community, they've lost all that history."

Fire being treated as suspicious

Glenmark senior team manager Nick Hamilton told Morning Report a local policeman driving past noticed the clubrooms burning about midnight.

He said the officer tried to get in and save some of the photos, but the smoke was too thick.

Mr Hamilton said a collection of Robbie Deans' jerseys were among the memorabilia lost in the fire.

A Fire Service spokesman said this afternoon that the cause of the fire was unknown so the fire was being treated as suspicious. He said investigations were ongoing.

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Photo: Supplied / Nick Hamilton