‘Wonderful’ response to appeal for trust’s minibus hit by arson

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Firefighters battled to contain the blaze in the early hours (Photo: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service)

THE Countryside Education Trust charity has been overwhelmed after hundreds of pounds was raised to replace one of its vehicles that was destroyed in an arson attack.

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As reported in the A&T, the minibus belonging to the Countryside Education Trust in Beaulieu was set on fire in the early hours of 8th January.

The blaze engulfed the Ford Transit, which is used to transport animals as part of its new outreach programme to schools and care homes, while it was parked next to the charity’s residential centre at Home Farm in Palace Lane.

One of its regular visitors, Jo Newman, set up the JustGiving website just a few days after the incident, and donations have been flooding in.

The target is to raise £1,000, and by Thursday £707 had been pledged.

The trust’s CEO Jane Cooper told the A&T: “The fire was a real blow and made everyone really sad. We work hard in the community and it had quite a depressing effect. Obviously, we were so lucky that no-one was hurt.”

Turning to the fundraising, she added: “It’s been absolutely wonderful. For Jo to set it up out of the blue was amazing. We are now on our way to replacing the van.

“We have had so many people calling to check we are okay and such nice, warm comments on our Facebook page. It’s been heartwarming.”

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/countryside-education-trust.

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