'Mindless' arsonists destroy outdoor classroom at Lancaster school
A fundraiser has been launched after arsonists set light to a school classroom in Lancaster.
The outdoor classroom in the grounds of Skerton St Luke's Primary School was destroyed just before 7pm on Monday, and police and the fire service have now launched a joint investigation into the blaze.
Joe Phelan, whose younger sister and cousin both attend the school, set up a GoFundMe page in a bid to raise £2,000 to replace the building after hearing about the fire.
Joe is a former pupil of Skerton St Luke's, as well as Ripley St Thomas and Myerscough College.
He currently works as a groundsman at the Kia Oval Cricket Ground in London but is home in Lancaster due to being furloughed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: "We live close to Skerton St Luke's School so within minutes knew of the fire in the school ground and the damage that had been caused.
"My little sister is a Year 3 pupil at St Luke's along with my cousin in Year 4 and most of my family and friends went to the school.
"It's a small voluntary aided school with a lovely atmosphere and they try so hard to make the school a nice place for the children so this has come as a real blow.
"At a time when we should all be staying home and staying safe this is a mindless act, affecting all the children and wasting the valuable time of our emergency services.
"During my time at St Luke's there were no outdoor facilities like this and now as a young adult in a 100 per cent outdoor career I know how much I would have thrived from an outdoor classroom and know how much it is going to affect some of the children, especially as at the moment children of key workers would have been using it over the coming weeks.
"The go fund me page was started to try and help the school start saving for a new outdoor classroom and to show the children some positivity in these times.
"As much as we are angry that this has been able to happen, it's my little sister, cousin and their friends that will suffer without that area after coping with months of uncertainty and being away from their school and friends.
"It would be great if we could show the children what a great community we are part of and what is the right way of dealing with these things. Please give what you can."
The school said on its Facebook page: "We are very upset that this mindless act has been committed at a time when people should be at home staying safe.
"A huge thank you to Joe Phelan who has started this fundraiser to help us build a new outdoor space for our children to use to enhance their learning and play."
To contribute to the fund, go online here