Crowdfunding page set up to buy CCTV after Harrogate school arson

A JustGiving page has been set up by a Harrogate resident to help buy CCTV cameras for the town's Saltergate Primary School after an arson attack that caused severe damage to its Early Years area.

Wednesday, 29th May 2019, 6:21 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th May 2019, 6:26 pm
The fire caused severe damage to the early years area. Picture: Gerard Binks.

The Harrogate community has rallied to help the school in the devastating aftermath - organising clean-ups of fire debris and showing overwhelming generosity by donating to the crowdfunding page, which now has a running total of more than £3,000

Click here to donate via the JustGiving page. Surplus funds will be used towards replacing what was damaged in the fire.

Three teenage boys have been arrested following the arson attack on Monday night.

• The fire was reported to the police at around 8.30pm. Two boys aged 13 and 15 were arrested a short time later. They have been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

• A third boy, aged 16, was arrested in the early hours of this morning - he has since been released while under investigation.

• The blazed caused severe damage to the school's early years outdoor area.

• The Harrogate community has rallied to help clear fire debris.

• 'Heartbroken and deeply saddened' - Saltergate's headteacher Linda Mortimer has issued a statement

She said yesterday: "It was purely due to the vigilance of members of the local community that the fire and rescue service and the police were on site soon after these attacks - our grateful thanks for their efforts in dangerous circumstances.

"Although the severe damage to the Early Years outdoor area is heartbreaking, it could have been so much worse if the fire had extended to the school buildings. I am of course, deeply saddened that anyone should wish to destroy an area designed and made for young children embarking on their journey in education.

"We thank you for your support and offers of help. It means such a lot to the staff and governors to know that our community is ready and willing to get to work to make the school site safe for our children. It's heartwarming to know that so many people care. On this occasion we have to let others take the lead. Firstly, the Fire Service and CSI will need to complete their investigations, and the local authority representatives will then ensure that the area is safe for the children, who will be back to school on Tuesday 4th June, after the half term holiday.

"I will keep everyone informed of progress and will gladly accept all offers of help from parents and the community if I am given the authority to do so. But, for now, please hold tight and await further news."

• Eyewitness accounts of the fire

Eyewitnesses have spoken of their horror at watching the fire take hold. Dan Akehurst, whose niece starts at Saltergate Primary School later this year, told the Harrogate Advertiser that he felt "sick to the stomach" as firefighters battled the blaze.

Mr Akehurst said: "There was loads of black smoke in the sky as I was walking back from the Co-Op on Jenny Field Drive, and I was shocked as I thought it might have been someone's house, so I ran to see where it was coming from and it led me to the school.

"I felt sick to the stomach seeing it, I couldn't imagine how other parents and residents must have been feeling seeing it as well - it was awful to see."

• Police appeal information

North Yorkshire Police are still appealing for information. A police spokesperson said: "Anyone with any information who has not already come forward to the police is asked to call officers on 101 and ask for Harrogate Investigation Hub. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."