Hartlepool school inundated with gifts for fire-hit nursery

Some of the donations received by Rift House Primary School following a major fire to its nursery
Some of the donations received by Rift House Primary School following a major fire to its nursery

A fire-hit Hartlepool primary school has been overwhelmed with donations from the community to help it get back on its feet.

Rift House Primary School has had so many gifts of toys and other items for its nursery, which was badly damaged in a suspected arson attack last week, that it has run out of room to store them.

Fire ravaged Rift House Primary School headteacher David Turner

Fire ravaged Rift House Primary School headteacher David Turner

The nursery building, which incorporated a Year Three classroom, was destroyed in the fire on Sunday 7 May.

Headteacher David Turner said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the support from the whole Hartlepool community.

“Everyone has been absolutely fantastic and I’ve been inundated with offers of help town wide.

“Thanks to the resilience of our children and support from parents, families, staff, education colleagues, the local authority and the Hartlepool community, the school has bounced back following the incident and everyone is looking ahead to the future.

The school has bounced back following the incident and everyone is looking ahead to the future

Headteacher David Turner

“The donation of toys and other items for the nursery in the aftermath of the fire have been unbelievable.

“However, we have received so many donations we do not need any more. Every day, dozens of people have been bringing items into school but we have run out of space to store them.

“I am very grateful to all those who have made donations and they will be invaluable to us when we are able to get our replacement nursery up and running.”

The donations include books, soft toys, bicycles, play sets, scooters and much more.

Luckily, the nursery was separate to the main school building so most pupils only missed out on two days at school.

A demolition team is on site this week clearing the remains of the nursery building.

Two boys aged 14 and 13, have been arrested by police on suspicion of arson and have been released.

A crowdfunding webpage in aid of the school launched by Julie Bell, whose late daughter Becky went to Rift House, has smashed its £1,000 target.

The fund currently raised £1,350 in just five days.

Julie started the page at gofundme to repay the kindness the school showed to Becky and her family when Becky was diagnosed with cancer in July 2011.