Cancer charity store wrecked by arsonists
A CHARITY which has helped thousands of cancer sufferers across the Peterborough area is facing a £10,000 loss after an arson attack.
The Crowland Cancer Fund’s warehouse, on Crease Drove, Crowland, which houses second-hand furniture and donated items to be sold on, was torched on Sunday evening.
A lean-to outbuilding was left a charred wreck with items stored in there – including commodes and zimmer frames – melted due to the heat. Items in the main building were left heavily smoke damaged.
Emergency services were alerted at 6.23pm after a woman walking her dog spotted smoke billowing from the warehouse.
Firefighters from Crowland and Spalding arrived to find the roof of the lean-to ablaze and called for backup from Market Deeping, Thorney and the water carrier from Holbeach before the blaze was extinguished four hours later.
Today volunteers have been searching through debris to see what can be rescued. Charity chairman Frank Barrett, who spent all evening at the warehouse as firefighters battled to contain the fire, said stock losses could total £10,000 – almost a quarter of their yearly fundraising target.
On top of that, there are repair expenses and bills such as skip hire, which alone costs £141.
He said: “Everyone knows what the warehouse is used for, so for somebody to set fire to it is unbelievable, I was shocked when I got the call.
“It is hard to put a cost on what we have lost. It’s huge.”
Marilyn Adcock, who owns the complex, said: “This is terrible. They raise so much for charity and if someone hadn’t spotted the fire it could have been a lot worse, so well done to them. I am devastated as we had done everything to secure the site, including new perimeter fencing.”
The charity donated £10,000 this year towards a new teenage cancer ward at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
They have also given the Teenage Cancer Trust £60,000 in the past three years. Helen Bearfield-Smith, from the charity, said: “This is so upsetting, they are an amazing char- ity and what they have achieved is incredible. They have helped thousands of youngsters with cancer.”
Shocked community fund-raiser for Marie Curie Cancer Care Stuart Wyle said the fund’s “phenomenal” £19,000 donation had helped pay for a cancer nurse for a year. He added: “I can’t believe this has happened, their donations over the years have made a major difference to many people’s lives.”
Lincolnshire police have launched an investigation after the fire service confirmed the incident was arson.
A police spokesman said: “We have sightings of some youths in the area at the time of the fire, but we still need more information.” Contact 0300 111 0300 with information.
DEVASTATED: Frank Barrett, chairman of Crowland Cancer Fund, and Mike Jackson search the charity’s fire-hit warehouse for salvagable items. (METP-19-05-10RH6)