Village to say goodbye to military club house

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Stoke-by-Nayland footballers say goodbye to their Recreation Ground home this weekend in a past versus present game on Saturday.

But it will also be a sad goodbye to the team’s clubhouse which turned out to have an interesting history.

Known to have been a search light hut in Scotland Street in the village in the Second World War it was moved in the early 1950s to the Recreation Ground to be used as the base for the village’s Royal British Legion branch.

However it has only recently been discovered that the hut may have originated from the First World War.

“I was surprised it might have been a First World War building,” said Richard Addis, chairman of Stoke-by-Nayland Football Club.

The clubs used the building as a changing room until four years ago, when the branch disbanded and the football club used the whole of the building, carrying out renovations including fitting showers and a kitchen area.

Despite its age Mr Addis said the hut was in good condition, though some work had been carried out to the metal frame a few years before.

“It is perfectly dry inside,” he said. “I suspect it would keep going if it was left on the football ground.”

Despite its condition the decision was taken by the Recreation Ground Committee three years ago to no longer maintain the building after water pipes froze.

As a result the hut is to be gifted to the Great War Huts heritage project, to be part of a new First World War exhibition in Hawstead.

However, there is still some doubt of whether the building is a First World War relic or an early example of a military hut from the Second World War.

Mr Addis admitted he and many other club members were sad to see the building go.

The building’s removal also spells the end for the club being based in the village, having played matches at the Recreation Ground since the 1950s.

With no club house or changing facilities they have had to look elsewhere, hoping to play in neighbouring Nayland.