This story was updated at 12.40pm.

FLAMES engulfed Marlow Rowing Club after an “extremely fierce fire” broke out during the early hours of this morning.

The blaze tore through the club made famous by five-time Olympic champion Sir Steve Redgrave just after 4am, destroying the changing rooms and clubhouse, as well as numerous boats.

The gym, weights room and kitchen area in the adjoining building suffered smoke damage, and club members believe the floor will have to be replaced.

But some of the club’s precious memorabilia, photos and listed World War I memorial have been salvaged from the smoke-blackened and dilapidated building.

In a statement on its website, the club said: “Much of the club building is destroyed or seriously damaged.

“The club is therefore shut until further notice. People with private boats in the affected areas will be contacted separately.

"The club will survive this, and a plan for getting back on the water and rebuilding will follow as soon as we can."

Dozens of club members of all ages flocked to the clubhouse by the Compleat Angler to offer their help to club officials, as news spread of the disaster.

While other members just stood and looked in disbelief at the wreckage by the River Thames.

Olympic bronze-winning medallist and life-member Sarah Winckless was giving a radio interview when the “extremely sad news” broke.

She rushed to the scene to give her support and hailed the local rowing community after numerous clubs offered to lend equipment to the shell-shocked club.

About 55 firefighters from both Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue and Berkshire Fire and Rescue Services raced to the club by Marlow Bridge after the fire broke out.

Five jets and specialist ladder equipment were used, as firefighters desperately tried to save some of the boats from the storage by pulling them on to the river.

Crews are still at the scene damping down the building, and Marlow Bridge was closed to allow the emergency services to work and investigate the cause of the fire.

The blaze is not being treated as suspicious at this time and no-one was injured.

Structural engineers are expected to examine the brick and wood clubhouse later today.

All members of the club, formed in 1871, have been emailed about the news.

John Campbell, who took this dramatic picture, said the fire was a “sad day for Marlow”. His words were echoed by Riley Park Trust chairman Tony Shannon.

And the mother of a rower from the club said her daughter and her friends were “upset and devastated” at the shocking news.

See Friday’s Marlow Free Press for photos, reaction and full-coverage of the rowing club fire.