Head humbled by support after arson attack
Police are treating the fire at Billinghay CE primary school on Fen Road which happened last week overnight (Tuesday/Wednesday) as arson. It reduced all the school’s PE equipment and spare desks to twisted metal.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting 21000056694.
Residents called the fire service at 3.30am when they heard a “massive bang”. Luckily the shed was well away from the rest of the school and so the fire did not spread further.
Headteacher Richard Allen said their caretaker arrived later to find the devastation. He said: “It is utterly saddening that somebody would do such a thing - in these times especially. It is our children who are going to lose out.
“They have lost all their PE equipment including football posts, tennis posts and benches for gymnastics. There were some pupil desks as well and just twisted metal is left.
“I have never experienced anything like this before.”
The Friends of Billinghay School called the fire ‘saddening’ saying: “This fire directly impacts on the welfare of our children.”
Within hours, parent Laura Davies launched a fundraising page and appeal for help on behalf of the Friends of the School, as it will take time to reclaim on the insurance. It smashed its initial £500 target within three hours and now stands at £2,275.
Laura added: “This is going to make such a positive difference to the school and children.”
Mr Allen and the school have been heartened by the immediate response.
He said: “We have had a number of local businesses contacting us with offers including building companies.
“We are so grateful and humbled by the offers of support the school has received from the local community. A great deal of good has come about from this despicable act, by bringing the local community closer together. I would like to thank everyone for their very generous offers to help and donations which we will use for new PE equipment and a new building to put everything in.”
Among those that have come to their aid are Carre’s Outreach, which already helps with school sport lessons, and has now loaned equipment.
Other businesses offering donations or assistance have been The Ship Inn, Willmott Dixon, Twells of Billinghay, Paul Rowson Building, Dane Farrow, Green Barn Timber, Build Base Hykeham, T Balfe Construction, Billinghay Garage, Apex Roofing, Billinghay Community Group, Billinghay Football Club and Billinghay Baptist Chapel.
Parents have offered to help lay a new concrete base for a replacement shed and there has been an offer of temporary storage too.
Mr Allen’s next step will be to do an inventory of everything lost in the blaze to submit for the local authority insurers, but he expected it will take weeks to get things cleared and replaced.
“We have things we can do in the short term,” he said. “Thankfully, at the moment, we don’t have all the children in school. If we had them all in we would struggle,” he said, adding that they will probably rely on physical activities that do not need equipment at first and Carre’s Outreach do online sessions too.