IT has trained Team GB marksmen and has been running for more than 100 years – but a shooting club has been left ‘devastated’ after learning it will be evicted from its premises at a school next month.
The Fareham Rifle and Pistol Club, based in Wickham, is celebrating its 105th anniversary this year but it is one tinged with sadness as it is losing the building that has been its home since the early 1970s.
Chair Nog Grimstead said: ‘It is absolutely devastating that we are having to leave and it is after a long legal battle with the Boundary Oak School which has run into the thousands and now we have to pay the school and are £32,000 down.’
The club, which was founded in 1914, has been on the site off Wickham Road since 1971 and paid a peppercorn rent but the school now wants to develop the land into a new building dedicated to design and technology.
Nog said: ‘We are one of the biggest clubs in the area and we have more than 120 members who range in age and they now have to find somewhere else to go or give up their hobby.
‘We tried looking for other sites during the past few years but there is nowhere local that will work and it is sad that the history of our club stops here.’
The club shoots air rifles and air pistols as well as the chance for members to do archery. It also provides the training facilities for some Team GB and national squads.
Nog continued: ‘We have elderly members who come for the social aspect of it all and don’t even pick up a gun and then we have youngsters who come with family and everyone has a good time.
‘Then our squads who train here face having to find somewhere new and it is sad as we have had quite a lot of local success with our youngsters.
‘It is such a friendly club and I am extremely sad that the school have felt this eviction was necessary.’
The club will close on February 28.
Nog added: ‘In my opinion the school is only interested in making money and does not care about our shooting club. They don’t not care about the members, the disabled we have here or the elderly which use it socially. It is a great shame.'
A Boundary Oak spokeswoman said: ‘The school aims to provide the best education, curriculum and facilities to its pupils.
‘The school believes teaching coding, engineering, electronics and design to be of great benefit throughout a pupil’s education for their future career options. Therefore, planning is in progress to build a new fully-equipped design and technology centre on that plot.
‘The Fareham Rifle and Pistol Club has been aware of the school’s plans for some time and chose to reject the school’s offer of an alternative venue. We look forward to developing our grounds to create a lasting legacy for the pupils of today and tomorrow.’