Fundrais­ers’ rally for Chal­lengers

Sing-a-thon or­gan­ised to help fire hit dis­abil­ity char­ity get back on its feet

Surrey Advertiser - - Front Page -

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.

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