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‘You can’t put a price on that kindness’ - special school head’s thanks for support after vandals steal minibus wheels

Wheels were stolen from the minibuses at the Hall School in Old Catton. Pic: The Hall School.

Wheels were stolen from the minibuses at the Hall School in Old Catton. Pic: The Hall School.

The Hall School

The headteacher of a special school has thanked the community for its “overwhelming” generosity after vandals smashed its minibuses’ windows and stole their wheels.

Wheels were stolen from the minibuses at the Hall School in Old Catton. Pic: The Hall School. Wheels were stolen from the minibuses at the Hall School in Old Catton. Pic: The Hall School.

Criminals broke the fence of Hall School in Old Catton over the weekend and removed 10 wheels from its tree minibuses, before smashing their windows.

The callous crime sparked an outpouring of support for the school, which supports children with severe learning difficulties, with funds raised, minibuses donated and well wishes sent in from around the region.

Headteacher Keith Mckenzie said: “The response from the public has been overwhelming in the nicest possible way.

“It reassures me that in this world - and certainly in Norfolk - there are a lot of very kind, caring and sensitive people, and that mankind is not quite as bad as I thought on Sunday.”

Wheels were stolen from the minibuses at The Hall School in Old Catton. Pic: The Hall School. Wheels were stolen from the minibuses at The Hall School in Old Catton. Pic: The Hall School.

While the school’s insurance covers repairs, it does not cover the replacement transport they’ll need for the two or three months the buses - which the school spent years raising tens of thousands of pounds for - are away.

MORE: Special school left without transport after crooks steal wheels from their minibuses

One of the minibuses when it was handed over. From left to right, Stewart White, head Keith Mckenzie, chairman of the Lady Taverners Jackie Hopkinson and chairman of the Norfolk Region of Lord Taverners Gary Towers. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY One of the minibuses when it was handed over. From left to right, Stewart White, head Keith Mckenzie, chairman of the Lady Taverners Jackie Hopkinson and chairman of the Norfolk Region of Lord Taverners Gary Towers. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Mckenzie said removing the minibuses - which the children use for lessons including swimming and riding - “dismantled” the school.

But he said they now hoped to take firms and individuals up on some of their offers.

“It has been so helpful,” he said. “I don’t like much publicity, but I wanted people to know this group is out there.

“We’ve had offers of minibuses, chauffeur driven minibuses, new tyres and more. You can’t put a price on that kindness.”

He said the community support - much of which has come from social media - had been a “flicker of light” during a challenging few days.

The school, which this year marks its 50th birthday, educates children with autistic spectrum disorders, behavioural, emotional and social difficulties and profound learning difficulties.

CCTV is believed to have captured a white van near the school at just after 8pm on Saturday night, which had been there for about four hours.

Norfolk police are investigating and said the incident is believed to have happened sometime between 6pm on Friday and 7.50am on Sunday.

Anyone with any information should contact police on 101 quoting CAD 85 of Sunday, January 21.

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