Fundraisers’ rally for Challengers
Sing-a-thon organised to help fire hit disability charity get back on its feet
FUNDRAISING efforts have begun in aid of a Guildford charity whose headquarters were damaged by a tumble dryer fire.
Challengers, which provides activities for disabled children at its base at Stoke Park was hit by the fire on Sunday (September 10).
The two-storey building suffered 100% smoke and fire damage to the ground floor, while there was 25% smoke damage to the first floor.
Guildford fire station crew commander James Neal said his crew was the first unit to respond to incident just after 1pm.
He confirmed the blaze, caused by a tumble dryer, broke out in a ground floor utility cupboard, resulting in significant damage to the ground floor play floor area.
Crew commander Neal said: “We were the first to respond to the incident. We were called to the charity centre at around 1.05pm and the information was there was smoke coming out of one of the cupboards.”
He continued: “Two response units from Guildford and one from Woking attended the scene.
“On arrival we saw there was significant damage and we requested for another unit which came from Woking.
“All in all there was eight firefighters who extinguished the fire, a total of six fire engines and one aerial vehicle attended.
“It took about two hours then a stop message went back to say it was in control and then a fire investigation took place after that.”
The charity took to social media and thanked everyone for their ‘overwhelming and generous donations’ following the fire at the Guildford playcentre.
A statement on its website said the tumble dryer was not in use at the time.
“We are working to find a temporary solution to getting our services up and running as soon as possible,” the statement read. We are in touch with families who have affected bookings.
“Thank you from all of the orange team.”
Posting on Facebook, the charity said: “There has been a significant fire at our Guildford Play centre affecting the downstairs play floor. All children and staff are safe. Thank you to the fire service for their support.
“We will be in contact with all families that use the centre but we will be temporarily be suspending all pre-school, play and after school services this week.
“Thank you to everyone for their support so far. We are very thankful and proud of the team that managed this.”
Donations to help get Challengers back up and running as quickly as possible can be made online at disability-challengers. org. The Guildford, Godalming and Farnham Rock Choir will hold a 24-hour ‘sing-a-thon’ on Saturday October 28 and Sunday October 29 at the Mandolay Hotel in London Road, Guildford.
It will include hits from Katy Perry, Jess Glynne, Adele, Clean Bandit, Labi Siffre, George Ezra and Bon Joni as well as two Halloween fancy dress singing parties. Sessions will be begin at 10am on the Saturday and will continue until 10pm the following day.