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Glemsford Playing Fields Group launches fund-raising campaign after picnic area destroyed in arson





An arson attack destroyed a picnic area in Glemsford last week, with volunteers now asking the community to pull together to help restore the site.

The fire was reported on the playing field behind Glemsford Village Hall in Tye Green, at 8.20pm on Friday, police have confirmed.

Although fire crews were able to extinguish the flames by 9pm, with no injuries reported, a set of picnic benches were badly damaged, and have since been cordoned off.

A set of picnic benches were badly damaged at Glemsford Playing Fields on May 10, 2024, in an incident being treated as arson. Picture: Glemsford Playing Fields Group
A set of picnic benches were badly damaged at Glemsford Playing Fields on May 10, 2024, in an incident being treated as arson. Picture: Glemsford Playing Fields Group

A spokesman for Suffolk Police said the blaze is being treated as arson, and investigations are ongoing.

The Glemsford Playing Fields Group described feeling ‘deflated and saddened’ following the incident, which occurred just two years after the benches were installed.

A £5,000 fundraising appeal is now under way to help pay for a replacement picnic area.

The group – a small team of five volunteers, who work to maintain the playing field – explained that they have been hit by several instances of criminal damage over the last year.

These include damage to newly-planted trees, broken goalposts and vandalism to a waste bin.

“Our volunteers’ best efforts to fundraise for items on the playing field, to be enjoyed by all, has been under attack from anti-social behaviour,” a statement from the group reads.

“We get minimal grants from the council, which unfortunately doesn’t cover our costs for ground maintenance throughout the year, and so the rest comes from pure fundraising.

“We are asking the community to help us. We desperately need help.

“We cannot keep justifying spending our precious funds on replacing equipment, when it is needed for road repairs, ditch clearance, hedge trims and grass cuts throughout the year.”

Since the fund-raising campaign began on Saturday morning, more than £500 has been donated.

The Glemsford Playing Fields Group insisted it will ensure those responsible for burning the benches “will be brought to justice through the correct channels”.

“We have been amazed at the kindness of some villagers in offering their services, offering their time and donating to our cause,” a group statement added.

“We have so many wonderful ideas for this community space. We will not be put off by the negativity, and we hope you will not also.

“We appreciate you are all becoming fed up with anti-social behaviour – trust us when we say, we are too, as it’s our time that has been wasted. However, the community must pull together.

“The playing fields is ours, not the council’s, not the committee’s; it is the people of Glemsford’s.

“It is owned by everyone who lives here. Therefore, everyone has a duty to keep it ours, and keep it a place for everyone to enjoy.”

To support the appeal, go online to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/the-glemsford-playing-fields.

Anybody with information about the arson incident should call police on 101, quoting the crime reference number 37/26085/24.