Residents dig deep for Little Friends pre-school
A Thurrock man has started a donation drive after discovering his niece’s pre-school centre had been vandalised over the half-term break.
Staff, parents and children from Little Friends in Grays were shocked to find the pre-school’s playground had been badly damaged by heartless vandals while the centre was closed for the week.
In response, Chris Fletcher, who was disgusted to learn of the vandalism, started a JustGiving page on Tuesday with a target of £250 to cover the costs of the damage.
He was amazed to find that by the end of the day, kind-hearted donors had collected more than £600 – at the time of going to press the appeal had reached £725.
Chris said: “My four-year-old niece attends the pre-school and has done for a couple of years, she loves it. I decided to start an online appeal because this isn’t the first time they’ve been broken into and now that I run a Facebook group [Thurrock – why so serious] with over 11,000 members I felt I could do something about it.
“The original target was £250, I didn’t want to aim too high because I know there a lot of fundraisers out there and money is tight but the support from the group has been amazing.”
The online response was remarkable and the total was soon reached and surpassed. Many donors gifted what they could be in an incredible gesture, members of the public donated as much as £100 to the cause.
Writing on Facebook, Colin Hutchinson pledged to donate items directly to the cause. He said: “Will be dropping off a few outdoor toys tomorrow afternoon.”
In a similar gesture Danielle Starling pledged to give the centre a slide and playhouse to replace damaged equipment.
Chris, overwhelmed by the generosity, has promised to deliver the full amount to the pre-school regardless of what the total finishes on.
He said: “I’ll wait until Friday [tomorrow] to see what we can raise then give it to them [Little Friends]. You have to run it [JustGiving] for a at least a month and whatever we raise up to then will also be donated.
“What the pre-school want to buy with it is up to them – whatever they want to do to benefit the kids.”