top of page

Diving club forced to 'rebuild and start again' after arsonists destroy vital £30,000 compressor

Stockton Divers club 'is devastated by an arson attack that has left the compressor facilities in ashes'

A Stockton diving club will have to "rebuild and start again" after a vital £30,000 piece of equipment was destroyed in an arson attack.

On Monday Thornaby Football Club, at Teesdale Park, suffered a devastating fire which has caused around £130,000 of damage to the club's facilities. But the "mindless" vandals also left a community sports group in shock when it learnt that its compressor was also ruined in the blaze.

Stockton Divers spent two years fundraising for the £30,000 compressor and it had only just finished installing it days before it was burnt. Thornaby FC stored the equipment which is a tool used to fill diving bottles by putting gas in them.

Paul Crinnion, chairman of Stockton Divers, said: "To take a blow like this is very upsetting. We're only a small club with 55 members.

"We've literally spent the last two years fundraising as a club running everything from horse racing nights to concerts to social evenings to game nights to raise enough money to buy this compressor. We had only just finished installing it days previously and these vandals have burned it down.

"We're trying to now recover and we're all exhausted from raising the money so the best thing we can think of doing at this time is try get some crowdfunding to help us out. To replace what we had and it was in brand new condition, it's going to cost £30,000 which is a lot of money for 55 members."

Stockton Divers has a close relationship with Thornaby FC. The football club hosted the divers club's compressor and it provides a space for the club to do lectures for trainee divers.

Now that the compressor has been burnt, Stockton Divers can no longer fill its diving bottles so it will have to go somewhere else instead of Thornaby FC's site. The chairman said this will "greatly increase" the members' costs for diving.

Thornaby FC's clubhouse, grounds and facilities have sustained shocking damage from the fire which Cleveland Police are now investigating as arson. Paul said his initial reaction to the incident was "disbelief".

He added: "I couldn’t believe anyone would do it. Our club members were contacted by Thornaby Football Club very early in the morning on the Monday. They help us a lot and we’ve helped them in the past.

"We helped to do some of the building work around their site so not only were we impacted by the fact that it’s our friends and our club that has been damaged, we’re also impacted by the fact that some of our members have helped with some of that work so building - some of the outdoor area that was destroyed for instance and some of the bar area.

"For us we know Thornaby Football Club really well and we’re sad for them. We’re working with them to do what we can.

"They’ll help us to get our compressor located back there I’m absolutely sure. We’ve just got to rebuild and start again."

Stockton Divers is a not for profit organisation and trains people to become divers at no cost. Paul said that a young man, around 18-years-old, recently qualified as a diver from Stockton Divers and he now works at a dive school in Cyprus.

The club, which is more than 40 years old and is part of the British Sub-Aqua Club also trains its members in first aid so they are all "more than capable of taking on first aid challenges in normal life as well as as divers". Paul believes diving teaches people "invaluable life skills such as self reliance and leadership skills".

Paul is hoping to get support from the local community in helping the club to replace its compressor. He said: "It came as such a shock and I think from my perspective as the club chairman, it's important the members see that there’s potentially a way out of this and a GoFundMe page is maybe one of the quickest ways to get the ball rolling and get them feeling a bit more positive that we will get this organised and sorted and get ourselves back with a really fantastic facility of the compressor.

"We built a lot of our financial plans around paying for it and now it’s paid for we’re not very well off as a club anymore. We've got to start building our finances again which we’re planning to do."

The fundraising page states: "Stockton Divers is a community sports group that teaches scuba diving to members of our local community aged 14 years and onwards. We meet for lectures and socially every week at Thornaby FC.

"An arson attack has left our club devastated. Thornaby FC kindly allowed us the use of a container to store our equipment including a newly installed compressor. There is nothing viable left now after this malicious fire.

"We welcome any donations no matter how small, to help us rebuild our equipment and begin training again."

The diving club website adds: "The club is devastated by an arson attack that has left the compressor facilities in ashes. Help us rebuild by making a donation of whatever you can afford." You can visit the GoFundMe page.

Arson attack: Welcome
bottom of page