£20,000 appeal set up after Hooky fire

Staff, children and Friends of Hook Norton School members by the fire-damaged play equipment. NNL-190730-141647009
Staff, children and Friends of Hook Norton School members by the fire-damaged play equipment. NNL-190730-141647009

Villagers in Hook Norton are rallying round to raise money for a new play area to replace one destroyed in an arson attack last Friday.

The Friends of Hook Norton School have set up a Go Fund Me page with a target of £20,000.

The blaze at Hook Norton Primary School before firefighters arrived

The blaze at Hook Norton Primary School before firefighters arrived

The Friends, parents and staff hope they can raise enough money to get the play area - and particularly a pirate ship climbing feature - replaced in time for the start of the new school year in September.

The village expressedshock and disbelief that the new play area had been deliberately set alight at around 6pm. Police said they suspected arson.

Outgoing head Stella Belgrove, who retired at the end of term, said: “We have been deeply touched by the messages of support we have received from our fantastic Hook Norton community and beyond.

“In response to the outpouring of support and the many offers of donations, we have set up the Go Fund Me page to enable those that would like to, to donate to our wonderful school.

“Although we are insured we anticipate extra costs and to know that there are wonderful people who don’t know us but want to help us, will send a powerful message to our pupils and our community.

“I am heartbroken. This was my last big project before retiring, to celebrate the school’s silver jubilee. Parents and staff worked so hard to raise the money for it. I was the first to have a go on it, followed by 250 children who have loved it in the short time it was there.”

Ms Belgrove paid tribute to the Hook Norton Fire Service.

“Thanks to the fast response of the fire fighters the blaze did not spread to the school itself and luckily no-one was injured.

“Someone will know who did this and I urge you to come forward. Apart from it being a mindless act that has caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage and caused upset to the whole village, the culprits put themselves at great risk of harm.

“Many thanks to the fire fighters and to staff and governors who responded so quickly.”

“Thames Valley Police have asked for any information that may help their investigation to be given as soon as possible,” a police spokesman said.

“The force were called to the school at 7.13pm after reports of a fire in the playground.

“The fire service attended and the fire was extinguished. No-one was injured.The offence is being investigated as a suspected arson.

“Anyone with information is urged to contact police via our website at https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/cor/tell-us-about-existing-case-report/ or call 101, quoting reference 1509 (26/7).”

https://www.gofundme.com/f/hook-norton-school-pirate-ship?