East London - The oldest rugby club in the East London Border region, the Buffalo Club, has been partially burnt to the ground in what is believed to be a fire started by an electrical fault.
No injuries have been reported in the incident on Sunday.
The building is a well-known landmark in the city. The club, the third-oldest rugby club in South Africa, is situated alongside the Buffalo Park cricket ground, home of Border cricket, and overlooks the East London Golf course.
The club has a very strong rugby section which contests the Border Premier League, while the Buffs Runners club is famous for hosting a number of tough annual marathons and ultra-marathons, including the 160km Washie 100, run from Port Alfred to the Buffs club each July.
Long-time member and staunch Buffs runner, James Anderson, who has been a member of the club since 1987, said it was a sad day for all the many Buffs members.
"It’s so sad that so much history has gone up in smoke," Anderson said on Sunday.
"We had a great deal of trophies, photographs and other memorabilia, and although I heard that some members had tried to save what they could from the display cabinets, I believe quite a lot has been damaged."
Other sports currently played at the Buffs club include cricket, hockey, snooker, squash and water polo with a section of the ground used for radio controlled cars. A bowls section was closed several years ago.