MEMBERS of Walkerburn Bowling Club are “devastated” after their brand new clubhouse was destroyed by fire.

The premises only opened three months ago, after the previous building had to be demolished as a result of flood-damage caused by storms at the turn of 2016.

Fire crews rushed to the building, in Caberston Road, shortly before 7am on Tuesday morning.

The premises will be closed to the public while the extent of the damage – estimated to run into thousands of pounds – is assessed.

The clubhouse reopened in September after 19 months of community fundraising and building work in the aftermath of the storms.

And memorabilia that survived the flooding has now been lost in the fire.

Tom Hardie, president of Walkerburn Bowling Club said: “All members are devastated at the damage that has been done. “Everyone on this committee worked exceptionally hard to prepare for the next season.

“To have this destroyed is a big blow. We lost a vast amount of items, many of sentimental value, from old badges to photos, including pictures of members who fought in the war.

“It hits me the hardest to see that parts of our history have been destroyed.

“It is hard to lose the club, but it is very hard to lose things that cannot be replaced.

“A lot of people have put a lot of time and effort into replacing everything after the floods, now we have to start again.

“The community rallied round to help us before and we hope they will again.”

Tweeddale East councillor Shona Haslam (Cons) said: “It is tragic to see this damage to this project that has been fully supported by the community.

“The fundraising that has gone on has united everyone to bring this facility to the town.

“I trust that we can rebuild and the local councillors are ready to work with the local community in any way that we can.”

Councillor Stuart Bell (SNP) said: “This is a real tragedy for the hard-working committee who had worked wonders getting funding for a beautiful replacement building.

“All the memorabilia which had just been reinstated after rescuing from the flood has been lost.

“Now they have to start from scratch again.”

  • A man appeared in court this week in connection with the fire. Sam Williams, 27, appeared in private at Selkirk Sheriff Court on Wednesday. He is charged with culpable and reckless fire-raising. Williams of Walkerburn, made no plea and the case was continued for further examination. A motion for bail was refused and he was remanded in custody by Sheriff Peter Paterson.