OLYMPIANS Katherine Grainger, Zac Purchase and Sarah Winckless expressed their shock and sadness following the blaze at Marlow Rowing Club.

Winckless, an Olympic bronze medal winner, was one of the first club members on the scene after hearing the news during a radio interview.

The life-member was saddened to discover a boat named after her had melted in the blaze which ripped through the historic club this morning.

She said: “It’s heart breaking but what has shone through is the real community spirit you can see, with young and old people here offering to play their part.

“I first came to the club in 1997 and was lucky enough to race and never looked back. It is sad to think that, not only have we lost some of the boats, but some of the historic photos and items will have gone up with it.

“But to see the spirit of the members and the rowing community generously offering their help and support, I’m sure the club will be back stronger than ever.”

Triple Olympic Silver medallist Grainger and club member Purchase heard the bad news from their World Championships training camp in Germany.

Grainger said the whole GB lightweight rowing squad was shocked by the news and vowed to help the club get back on its feet.

She said: “'I am currently in Germany, training with the rest of the women and lightweight GB rowing team and we were all shocked by the news. It is so incredibly sad for the club.

“The whole of the rowing community will unite to support in any way they can and there is a huge feeling of support from the British team.

“I’m sure that once the initial devastation is dealt with there will be positive plans to see the club back on its feet. I know we'll help in any way we can".