by Liana Turner
IT WAS a special building, and the result was something of which Murwillumbah builder Bob "Dagger” Haigh was proud.
Mr Haigh died in November last year, just nine months after the centre - which burnt down last Friday morning - was officially opened.
Lorna Haigh said her late husband had been proud of the building, and hoped those responsible for the fire would be brought to justice.
"That was his last big job before he left us,” she said.
Mrs Haigh said she could not understand how someone could intentionally cause the blaze, which is being treated as suspicious.
"I just hope and pray that they catch the culprits and that they're severely punished,” she said.
"They should have to pay for the replacement.”
Mr Haigh had been a master builder for some 58 years, with his work dotted across the region.
The couple's company, Haigh's Constructions, won the 2016 Master Builders Association of NSW Excellence in Regional Building Award for the tennis club.
Mrs Haigh said it had left a strong legacy for his long career, which came to a sudden halt when he died from a stroke while on the Gold Coast last year.
But she said the fire, which gutted the building shortly before 4am last Friday, was a blight on that legacy.
"He was very proud of it,” she said.
"It was a beautiful building... and that was his last big project before he left this Earth.”
Mrs Haigh said his skills had been put to good use on the project.
"It was an architectural design and apparently the roof was challenging to build,” she said.