THEY’RE so good that even a blaze at their base couldn’t stop a majorette troupe from winning enough trophies to fill a cabinet.
The Laindon Suzettes have been unable to train at their HQ, in Bluehouse Farm Community Centre, since it was damaged in a suspected arson attack eight weeks ago.
They were stranded after the fire, in Laindon Link, Laindon, just weeks before the biggest twirling tournament of the Majorette calendar.
But despite being forced to train in unfamiliar alternative venues, they still came back victorious.
The Suzettes bagged 27 trophies, including ten gold awards, 11 silver and six bronze, as well as being named overall winners of the Essex area.
Leader Margaret Fulker, who set up the troupe 30 years ago, admitted the upheaval had affected their performance, but praised the girls for their hard work and dedication.
In the lead-up to the United Kingdom Federation of Majorettes National Championships, the troupe relied on the hall at James Hornsby School, in Leinster Road, Laindon, and Selex Sports and Leisure Club, in Gardiners Way, Basildon, for training.
Mrs Fulker said: “We do usually come away with even more trophies, but it’s understandable this year, because we did have to deal with a lot of upheaval.
“I had to traipse all our equipment all over the place, and it’s difficult to get used to training in different places all the time.
“We’re just grateful, because things could have been so much worse. We stood there and watched Busy Bees, next door, go up in smoke, so we had a lucky escape really.
“Most of the damage has been cleaned up now and we’re so excited to get back into the community centre. The cupboard where we store our equipment still smells, but I’m sure I can sort it out with a mop and bucket.
“All the girls have been really good and worked their little socks off. I’m so proud of them.”
The Laindon Suzettes are due to move back into Bluehouse Farm on Friday, April 25.
Parents and staff at Busy Bees pre-school, next to the community centre, were told by Basildon Council last week their building is unlikely to be rebuilt after it was destroyed in the inferno on February 16.