John of Gaunt pledges £1,000 support as police renew special school fire plea

Wiltshire Times: John of Gaunt headteacher Andy Packer pledges £1,000 to Larkrise head Phil Cook as three pupils try out the anonymously donated Didicars John of Gaunt headteacher Andy Packer pledges £1,000 to Larkrise head Phil Cook as three pupils try out the anonymously donated Didicars

Police have issued an appeal as investigations continue into the suspected arson attack at Larkrise School in Trowbridge.

House-to-house enquiries have so far proved negative and there is no CCTV in the area to show how the shed fire, which caused £4,000 worth of damage, started at the school for children with severe learning difficulties.

Acting Police Sergeant Jamie Darvill from Trowbridge Police Station said: “We are no further forward with our investigation.

“We are maintaining contact with the school, checking in on a regular basis, and continuing with patrols in the area.

“Somebody out there knows something about it, but no-one is coming forward. I would strongly appeal if anyone has information about this please contact us.”

John of Gaunt School in Trowbridge aim to raise £1,000 for Larkrise School with a non-uniform day, with each of the pupils giving £1.

Headteacher Andy Packer said: “I first heard of the fire when I saw it on the Wiltshire Times website. I saw the picture of Phil Cook (Larkrise headteacher) next to the remains of a tricycle.

“Because I am a close colleague of Phil’s through the collaborative schools in Trowbridge and my daughter had the wonderful opportunity of work experience at Larkrise in 2011, I wanted to say a personalised thank you.

“A non-uniform day is an easy way to raise money for a good cause and it is lovely to be able to help other children in the locality.”

Parents and members of the public have been giving financial donations to the school, which have so far reached £1,500 and will go towards replacing the equipment and the store shed.

A special delivery came by courier on Tuesday when four Didicars, a self-propelled ride-on toy, were donated anonymously with the message “Love from Santa”.

Phil Cook, headteacher at Larkrise School, said: “The staff have really been quite moved by the donations. It has been very exciting for the children. The response has been overwhelming.

“We now feel we will be able to replace everything we have lost and the donations have allowed us to get back to play and develop really quickly.”

Anyone with information should call the police 101 number.

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