Brownies lose everything in shed fire

A BROWNIE pack is having to start from scratch after a suspected arson attack at Newton Poppleford on Sunday destroyed their storage shed.

Firefighters were called to the fire involving two sheds in School Lane, at 3am. One was used by 1st Newton Poppleford Brownies, the other by nearby St Luke’s Church. The blaze spread to the church and church hall nearby, causing them damage too.

The Brownies lost everything, including mascots Newton the teddy bear and cuddly owl Poppleford, craft materials, sports and cookery equipment, and its flag, used for events including Remembrance Sunday.

Devon Girlguiding spokesman and Sidford Brownies’ leader in charge Nikki Peckham, and Newton Poppleford’s leader in charge Chris Chapman went over on Sunday morning, having been contacted by the church.

Nikki said: “We’re not the only victims, because the church and hall were also affected, but the Brownie shed bore the brunt. The pack has lost everything.”

Chris said it was especially sad, coming during the Girlguiding movement’s centenary year. She said: “We work really hard to try and help the girls develop, and give our time for nothing, so when something like this happens, it sets us back.”

The group of 24 seven to 10-year-olds and three adult leaders has now got to build up its resources again. Replacing everything will cost around �400, excluding the cost of the flag, the shed itself and the parachute the girls use when playing outside.

Most Read

Chris has already received phone calls offering items such as fabric. She said: “There’s a positive side because you get to see how kind people can be.”

The pack, currently on its summer break, was already planning to move its meetings to the village’s pavilion in September. The girls will be involved in prioritising what equipment needs replacing and when.

Chris said: “It will be a good opportunity to make a fresh start in our new venue, reconsider what equipment we need, buy a few good quality items that will last, and ensure we can store them adequately.”

The pack needs: Any beads, (all sizes, shapes, colours etc); material scraps, felt and wool; blindfolds for games (such as you are given on aeroplanes to help you sleep); a good length of soft rope for group skipping; children’s skipping ropes; old aprons, either plastic or material, for art and cookery; a large ball (football size); hoops; card and paper of all colours and types; kitchen scales; rolling pins and chopping boards. Anyone who can offer anything on the list should call Chris on (01395) 513278.

A local man was arrested on Sunday and has been released on police bail. Anyone with any information about the incident can call DC Harrington on 08452 777 444 quoting crime reference KS/10/424.