‘If it was our school I would feel devastated’ - youngsters collect toys to help children affected by Phoenix Centre arson
07:00 22 December 2012
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012
It is a heart-warming gesture of kindness that shows the Christmas spirit is still alive.
Children at a Norfolk school were so upset by the arson attack at the Phoenix Centre, in Norwich, that they started a toy collection to help out.
Flames engulfed the centre last Saturday night, causing major damage to back rooms and destroying toys belonging to children’s groups.
So youngsters at Fairhaven Primary School, in South Walsham, decided they would do all they could to help.
David Muff, class teacher, explained: “They heard about the fire at the Phoenix Centre and heard they had lost a lot of toys, so I thought I would mention a toy collection to these guys.
“They had lots of energy and said yes.”
A letter - written by a pupil - was sent to parents of the 105 children at the school asking for good second-hand toys.
“All the children have responded fantastically really, and we’ve got a great big pile of toys that we’re hoping to hand over this weekend,” added Mr Muff.
Lois King, 10, said: “I was really excited to help.
“It’s sad it happened at this time of year and they should get the chance to have some new toys as the ones they love have gone. I can imagine how they feel.”
She donated a Kung Fu Panda toy, along with cuddly donkey and cat toys.
Harrie Newman, 10, said she was moved by the plight of the children’s centre.
“When I first heard about it I felt quite sorry as if it was our school I would feel devastated as I would have nothing to play with,” she said. “I brought in some cuddly toys and some games.”
The collection was led by Year 5 and 6 children, aged nine to 11, but the whole school helped out.
Chloe Maloney, 10, said: “The building must have been very special to them and I have a lot of old toys in the loft, so I brought them in.”
And William Steinberg, 10, said: “It seemed disappointing for them as they need a chance to be happy at Christmas as well.”
It took more than two hours to get the Phoenix Centre blaze under control, but thanks to the firefighter’s rapid actions some side rooms may be useable after Christmas.