Arsonists wreck school's Christmas

ARSONISTS have failed to scupper a school's much-loved charity Christmas event.The fire-raisers wrecked a sleigh complete with wooden reindeer when they struck at Glemsford Primary School.

ARSONISTS have failed to scupper a school's much-loved charity Christmas event.

The fire-raisers wrecked a sleigh complete with wooden reindeer when they struck at Glemsford Primary School.

Staff and pupils feared the annual tour of the village led by Santa's famous form of transport would have to be scrapped.

But generous local businesses have come forward to help and thanks to the efforts of determined volunteers the arson attack, which damaged a storage building at the school, is already something of a bad memory.


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Susan Attfield, assistant to school head Elizabeth Steele, said the mood in school morning when the fire was discovered was sombre: "We were all very sad to see that someone had done this. It's the second time in only a few weeks we have experienced problems with vandals.

"There were a few tears but something positive has come from the ashes. We came in feeling really let down but when people rally around like they have it really restores your faith in human nature."

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Mrs Attfield said the school would not be beaten by the arsonists and the charity event on December 14 would go ahead as planned.

"It's a real tradition. Pupils, teachers, staff and parents travel around the village in the wake of the sleigh, which is carried on a trailer and pulled by a car. We even have a real Santa.

"We sing Christmas carols to taped music and we raise around £500 for charity. To see it all go up in smoke like that is really sad but thanks to local firms it can still go ahead," she said.

Mrs Attfield said Ridgeons had provided some of the raw materials needed to rebuild the sleigh while the Sudbury branches of Roys of Wroxham and Homebase had handed over the decorations.

They had also replaced the school's other Christmas decorations lost in the blaze, which was deliberately started at around 11.30pm on Monday.

Sports equipment, including footballs, nets and goalposts, was also destroyed in the fire and a playhouse enjoyed by children during the summer months went up in smoke.

The school is appealing for anyone who can help rebuild the sleigh and prepare for the charity event, which starts at 4pm and tours around the village until 7pm, should contact staff on 01787 283200.

A police spokesman said the fire, which was started in a wheelie bin and spread to two further bins before it caught the storage area alight, was being treated as suspicious. Anyone with information about what happened should contact Sgt Ian Watson at Sudbury police on 01284 774300 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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