Cottingley Working Men's Club is the target of an arson attack

Cottingley WMC secretary Geoff Graham next to the broken window through which the fire was started

Cottingley WMC secretary Geoff Graham next to the broken window through which the fire was started

First published in Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Aire/Worth Valley Reporter

An arson attack could have destroyed Cottingley Working Men’s Club, Bingley, early yesterday, but the popular venue was saved by the swift arrival of Shipley firefighters.

Club secretary Geoff Graham said it was only the rapid response of the fire crew which stopped the single-storey building from going up in flames after a blaze was started deliberately in the tap room.

A window was broken and then something incendiary was hurled into the room which holds two snooker tables.

“They were here in less than five minutes of the alarm going off. If it wasn’t for that, the whole place would have gone up in smoke,” said Mr Graham.

He was at home nearby having celebrated his daughter’s wedding during the day and arrived at the scene after being alerted by neighbours.

“I’d popped into the club for a couple of pints after the wedding then just hours later at about 3.50am there it was on fire,” said Mr Graham, 61. “It was not the perfect end to the day.”

“It’s definitely arson because we’ve got it on CCTV which has been passed to the police. You can see the flash of fire which started it. Also, one of the windows had a small hole broken in it first.”

Cottingley WMC in Hope Hill View has some 250 members and has just finished expensive decorating and improvements to its concert room and foyer area, Mr Graham said.

Yesterday afternoon, volunteers cleared up smoke damage, which Mr Graham said was not too bad.

Detectives will be studying the CCTV footage provided by the club as part of the investigation, a West Yorkshire Police spokesman said yesterday.

Anyone with information should contact Airedale and North Bradford CID on 101.

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