Bury St Edmunds school to rebuild classroom after arson attack

St Edmund's Catholic Primary School is preparing to rebuild its Forest School classroom, which was destroyed in an arson attack earlier this summer. They have had lots of donations from the community including a grandmother Mandie Beckley of two pupils Lucy and Theo Jackson. 'Y2 in the woodland class room.'Picture Mark Westley ANL-150929-174337009
St Edmund's Catholic Primary School is preparing to rebuild its Forest School classroom, which was destroyed in an arson attack earlier this summer. They have had lots of donations from the community including a grandmother Mandie Beckley of two pupils Lucy and Theo Jackson. 'Y2 in the woodland class room.'Picture Mark Westley ANL-150929-174337009
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A Bury St Edmunds school’s outdoor classroom which was destroyed in a ‘devastating’ arson attack is to be rebuilt - with the help of donations from the community.

The £60,000 to £70,000 classroom at the back of St Edmund’s Catholic Primary, in Westgate Street, was completely gutted by a blaze in June.

St Edmund's Catholic Primary School is preparing to rebuild its Forest School classroom, which was destroyed in an arson attack earlier this summer. They have had lots of donations from the community including a grandmother Mandie Beckley of two pupils Lucy and Theo Jackson. 'Y2 in the woodland class room. Mandie with Theo and head of school Katie Copeman 'Picture Mark Westley ANL-150929-174252009

St Edmund's Catholic Primary School is preparing to rebuild its Forest School classroom, which was destroyed in an arson attack earlier this summer. They have had lots of donations from the community including a grandmother Mandie Beckley of two pupils Lucy and Theo Jackson. 'Y2 in the woodland class room. Mandie with Theo and head of school Katie Copeman 'Picture Mark Westley ANL-150929-174252009

Following the attack, generous parents and relatives donated £600 to £700 to help rebuild the classroom, which was used for Forest School activities.

This includes £425 from grandmother Mandie Beckley, who raised the funds through a tea party for the residents of Daisy Green, Long Thurlow and Elsmwell.

Maria Kemble, executive headteacher, said: “When the fire happened we were all devastated.

“The generosity and kindness of the community restored our faith in people and it made us realise what a strong community we are and how supportive we are of each other when there’s something really challenging.”

With the insurance covering the classroom rebuild, donations from the community will help replace other equipment and resources destroyed in the blaze.

Work begins on the site in the next couple of weeks and the school hopes the classroom, made from recycled materials, will be ready by the end of term depending on the weather.

It will allow pupils to fully continue their Forest School activities to learn about the great outdoors.

Mrs Kemble said: “We’ve carried on with Forest School but used other parts of the school site so the pupils haven’t missed out.

“The activities we could do were more limited because we couldn’t go down and use the full site and do pond dipping. We’ve ben able to do smaller scale activities and we’ve made the best of it.”

The school has also put fencing up over the summer holidays to stop trespassers accessing the site.

The original outdoor classroom had been built following a lengthy fund-raising project at the school and a lottery grant.

- On Tuesday, September 22, a 20-year-old man, from Bury St Edmunds, was arrested on suspicion of arson in connection with the incident and was taken to Bury Police Investigation Centre for questioning.

He was bailed until October 13.