Pre-school forced to close after SECOND arson attack

Lorraine Bailey-Dean with Caitlin and Jack, both 4, Mikhala Forbes, Alison Wilkinson with Liam, 3, Kerry Baynes with George, 3, and Tara Hughes with George, 4.

Lorraine Bailey-Dean with Caitlin and Jack, both 4, Mikhala Forbes, Alison Wilkinson with Liam, 3, Kerry Baynes with George, 3, and Tara Hughes with George, 4.

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter

A SOUTHAMPTON pre-school has been forced to close after a second attack by arsonists.

Days after reopening following the initial fire, staff at the Squirrels Corner pre-school have been left devastated by another blaze.

In a copycat attack, a vent was set alight leading to a store room in which was kept all the equipment, toys and furniture used by the pre-school.

It had only recently been replaced after the previous incident, in which all its stock was destroyed – leading to a £30,000 clear-up bill.

The pre-school, based at Moorlands Community Centre in Townhill Way, reopened on June 2 after the community rallied round with donations and support.

Staff and children were temporarily relocated to a nearby children’s centre while the preschool staff worked to replace equipment, children’s paperwork and deal with insurance claims.

But now the pre-school is once again facing an uphill battle to reopen following the latest incident, which was discovered yesterday morning.

Pre-school leader Genette Spooner said they were determined to reopen for the sake of the children and the eight staff who are employed there.

Administration manager Emma Glyde said: “We had this absolutely fantastic feeling when we reopened. We were so happy and grateful for all the support and looking forward to our new beginning.

“Now we are just gutted, completely devastated.

“It is hard to know how we are going to replace everything again.”

Many of the 42 children on roll were preparing to make the transition to school next September and now face having no pre-school to attend in the final weeks of term.

Parent Lorraine Bailey-Dean, 36, said that her four-year-old twins Jack and Caitlin would be affected by the disruption.

“It is just heartbreaking really. The last time it happened everyone worked so hard to get it back open again. It is soul-destroying really,” she said.

“The kids were just gearing up for school and now the pre-school isn’t open for such a mindless act of vandalism.”

Hampshire police said they had investigated the first attack which happened in April but that no arrests had been made.

A spokesman said: “The people who did this need to think about the consequences of what they have done and the effect it has had on many local families.

“We will be looking if this latest incident is linked to the previous arson.

“One of our officers has been assigned to liaise with the community centre about the crime and talk about security advice.

“We carry out regular patrols in the area and will keep a watchful eye on the centre.”

Anyone who may have witnessed the fire starting, or who has any information that could help, is urged to contact Hampshire police on 101.

Comments (26)

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11:14am Thu 12 Jun 14

steviestevens says...

My 3 year old son attends this great preschool and had only just returbed last week after the first fire. Everyone had done such a great job getting things sorted and replacing all the ruined toys with new ones and the children and assistants were all very happy to be back in business. ..and then this happens. My heart goes out to the ladies that work there who were all so upset at the mindless act of vandalism. Many of the children were crying yesterday too. If you have any information on who is doing this please inform the local police, this malicious and destructive person needs to be stopped.
My 3 year old son attends this great preschool and had only just returbed last week after the first fire. Everyone had done such a great job getting things sorted and replacing all the ruined toys with new ones and the children and assistants were all very happy to be back in business. ..and then this happens. My heart goes out to the ladies that work there who were all so upset at the mindless act of vandalism. Many of the children were crying yesterday too. If you have any information on who is doing this please inform the local police, this malicious and destructive person needs to be stopped. steviestevens
  • Score: 42

11:41am Thu 12 Jun 14

michtapp says...

who can i contact to help with some of my son's train track, trains and some books for when they reopen so the kids have some toys to play with xx
who can i contact to help with some of my son's train track, trains and some books for when they reopen so the kids have some toys to play with xx michtapp
  • Score: 31

11:43am Thu 12 Jun 14

elvisimo says...

what sad empty lives they must lead to do this. Probably thick a pig s hit and maybe did not benefit from any form of education themselves.
what sad empty lives they must lead to do this. Probably thick a pig s hit and maybe did not benefit from any form of education themselves. elvisimo
  • Score: 22

12:21pm Thu 12 Jun 14

The Wickham Man says...

Somewhere in Townhill Park is a mum who knows her son did it and who will swear blind he is a good lad and was nothing to do with it.
Somewhere in Townhill Park is a mum who knows her son did it and who will swear blind he is a good lad and was nothing to do with it. The Wickham Man
  • Score: 27

12:56pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Spooner01 says...

If you want to help please phone the pre school on 077808 436313 then we can arrange for drop off at the hall or we can arrange for collection.
Thankyou for all your kind words and support at this upsetting time. Genette Spooner
Chair for and on behalf of Squirrels Corner Pre - School
If you want to help please phone the pre school on 077808 436313 then we can arrange for drop off at the hall or we can arrange for collection. Thankyou for all your kind words and support at this upsetting time. Genette Spooner Chair for and on behalf of Squirrels Corner Pre - School Spooner01
  • Score: 14

12:59pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Vikki-Lou1 says...

My daughter attends squirrels and is going up to 'big' school in September I just hope this doesn't have too much of an affect on her. We were so happy last week and now it's back to devastation! Our babies have done nothing wrong yet they are being made to suffer! It makes me sick! And your right SOMEONE knows who done this terrible crime! And if your reading this I urge you to please please come forward to the police. How would you feel if this was your child this was affecting?! We are all devastated and I hope this is put right as soon as possible for everyone's sake.
My daughter attends squirrels and is going up to 'big' school in September I just hope this doesn't have too much of an affect on her. We were so happy last week and now it's back to devastation! Our babies have done nothing wrong yet they are being made to suffer! It makes me sick! And your right SOMEONE knows who done this terrible crime! And if your reading this I urge you to please please come forward to the police. How would you feel if this was your child this was affecting?! We are all devastated and I hope this is put right as soon as possible for everyone's sake. Vikki-Lou1
  • Score: 11

2:10pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Reality-man says...

The Wickham Man wrote:
Somewhere in Townhill Park is a mum who knows her son did it and who will swear blind he is a good lad and was nothing to do with it.
or daughter?
[quote][p][bold]The Wickham Man[/bold] wrote: Somewhere in Townhill Park is a mum who knows her son did it and who will swear blind he is a good lad and was nothing to do with it.[/p][/quote]or daughter? Reality-man
  • Score: 12

2:33pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Brite Spark says...

Why are there no dads in the photo?
Why are there no dads in the photo? Brite Spark
  • Score: -27

2:44pm Thu 12 Jun 14

camerajuan says...

Reality-man wrote:
The Wickham Man wrote:
Somewhere in Townhill Park is a mum who knows her son did it and who will swear blind he is a good lad and was nothing to do with it.
or daughter?
Too true both of you!

We all remember the ratty bltches from up there that bullied a kid so much he snapped and beat them until they were unrecognisable. Maybe ask them if they have any pyromaniac mates?
[quote][p][bold]Reality-man[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Wickham Man[/bold] wrote: Somewhere in Townhill Park is a mum who knows her son did it and who will swear blind he is a good lad and was nothing to do with it.[/p][/quote]or daughter?[/p][/quote]Too true both of you! We all remember the ratty bltches from up there that bullied a kid so much he snapped and beat them until they were unrecognisable. Maybe ask them if they have any pyromaniac mates? camerajuan
  • Score: 9

2:45pm Thu 12 Jun 14

House Sparrow says...

Brite Spark wrote:
Why are there no dads in the photo?
Perhaps they are at work.
[quote][p][bold]Brite Spark[/bold] wrote: Why are there no dads in the photo?[/p][/quote]Perhaps they are at work. House Sparrow
  • Score: 20

2:46pm Thu 12 Jun 14

100%HANTSBOY says...

Brite Spark wrote:
Why are there no dads in the photo?
Perhaps they're all at work, you helmet!
[quote][p][bold]Brite Spark[/bold] wrote: Why are there no dads in the photo?[/p][/quote]Perhaps they're all at work, you helmet! 100%HANTSBOY
  • Score: 34

2:50pm Thu 12 Jun 14

House Sparrow says...

100%HANTSBOY wrote:
Brite Spark wrote:
Why are there no dads in the photo?
Perhaps they're all at work, you helmet!
At least I left out the abuse!
[quote][p][bold]100%HANTSBOY[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Brite Spark[/bold] wrote: Why are there no dads in the photo?[/p][/quote]Perhaps they're all at work, you helmet![/p][/quote]At least I left out the abuse! House Sparrow
  • Score: 15

2:55pm Thu 12 Jun 14

100%HANTSBOY says...

House Sparrow wrote:
100%HANTSBOY wrote:
Brite Spark wrote:
Why are there no dads in the photo?
Perhaps they're all at work, you helmet!
At least I left out the abuse!
Good for you! I thought I was being polite!
There's no call for irrelevant comments like that (from Brite Spark)
[quote][p][bold]House Sparrow[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]100%HANTSBOY[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Brite Spark[/bold] wrote: Why are there no dads in the photo?[/p][/quote]Perhaps they're all at work, you helmet![/p][/quote]At least I left out the abuse![/p][/quote]Good for you! I thought I was being polite! There's no call for irrelevant comments like that (from Brite Spark) 100%HANTSBOY
  • Score: 17

3:00pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Peachybum says...

camerajuan wrote:
Reality-man wrote:
The Wickham Man wrote:
Somewhere in Townhill Park is a mum who knows her son did it and who will swear blind he is a good lad and was nothing to do with it.
or daughter?
Too true both of you!

We all remember the ratty bltches from up there that bullied a kid so much he snapped and beat them until they were unrecognisable. Maybe ask them if they have any pyromaniac mates?
Think the " ratty ****" referred to were Thornhill.

Not necessarily someone from Townhill, cut bush lane is a rat run for a few areas.
[quote][p][bold]camerajuan[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Reality-man[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Wickham Man[/bold] wrote: Somewhere in Townhill Park is a mum who knows her son did it and who will swear blind he is a good lad and was nothing to do with it.[/p][/quote]or daughter?[/p][/quote]Too true both of you! We all remember the ratty bltches from up there that bullied a kid so much he snapped and beat them until they were unrecognisable. Maybe ask them if they have any pyromaniac mates?[/p][/quote]Think the " ratty ****" referred to were Thornhill. Not necessarily someone from Townhill, cut bush lane is a rat run for a few areas. Peachybum
  • Score: -7

3:22pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Mitch3566 says...

I started a facebook request for help yesterday and if you need any labour i have a group of Royal Navy Cadets on standby.
I have also been in contact with a number of CCTV providers to try and source a FREE CCTV system for you. I hope to hear shortly if this has been successful.
Good luck with getting up and running asap
I started a facebook request for help yesterday and if you need any labour i have a group of Royal Navy Cadets on standby. I have also been in contact with a number of CCTV providers to try and source a FREE CCTV system for you. I hope to hear shortly if this has been successful. Good luck with getting up and running asap Mitch3566
  • Score: 33

4:06pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Spooner01 says...

Thank you all so very much for your help and support during this difficult time. Please refrain from unnecessary abuse we are going through enough and do not wish to read it.
Thank you all so very much for your help and support during this difficult time. Please refrain from unnecessary abuse we are going through enough and do not wish to read it. Spooner01
  • Score: 14

8:36pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Starof3 says...

Mitch3566 wrote:
I started a facebook request for help yesterday and if you need any labour i have a group of Royal Navy Cadets on standby.
I have also been in contact with a number of CCTV providers to try and source a FREE CCTV system for you. I hope to hear shortly if this has been successful.
Good luck with getting up and running asap
Thank u so much for ur support I'm one of the mums in the picture an my son attends the school and it's people like you that will help is get it back again so thank you on behalf of the children,staff and parents if you need to contact us then please feel free :)
[quote][p][bold]Mitch3566[/bold] wrote: I started a facebook request for help yesterday and if you need any labour i have a group of Royal Navy Cadets on standby. I have also been in contact with a number of CCTV providers to try and source a FREE CCTV system for you. I hope to hear shortly if this has been successful. Good luck with getting up and running asap[/p][/quote]Thank u so much for ur support I'm one of the mums in the picture an my son attends the school and it's people like you that will help is get it back again so thank you on behalf of the children,staff and parents if you need to contact us then please feel free :) Starof3
  • Score: 5

8:37pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Starof3 says...

michtapp wrote:
who can i contact to help with some of my son's train track, trains and some books for when they reopen so the kids have some toys to play with xx
Hi if you can be at the pre-school Monday morning that's great if not we can arrange pick up from you :) and thank you so much for your help
[quote][p][bold]michtapp[/bold] wrote: who can i contact to help with some of my son's train track, trains and some books for when they reopen so the kids have some toys to play with xx[/p][/quote]Hi if you can be at the pre-school Monday morning that's great if not we can arrange pick up from you :) and thank you so much for your help Starof3
  • Score: 1

9:08pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Mary80 says...

Brite Spark wrote:
Why are there no dads in the photo?
Why does it matter the issue is about a bunch of yobs trashing a pre school for no reason other than they just want to be little cretins
[quote][p][bold]Brite Spark[/bold] wrote: Why are there no dads in the photo?[/p][/quote]Why does it matter the issue is about a bunch of yobs trashing a pre school for no reason other than they just want to be little cretins Mary80
  • Score: 6

11:47pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Saint1980 says...

My son attends this preschool and has already missed 2 months from the last time this happened. I doubt he will return again now as he starts big school in September. Thanks to all the great staff that work so hard there. I hope the police catch the sad little **** that done this and teach them a lesson rather than a slap on the wrists. What next . . . Cause a fire with the children in there? Make them work in prison to pay for some new toys and repairs for the school.
My son attends this preschool and has already missed 2 months from the last time this happened. I doubt he will return again now as he starts big school in September. Thanks to all the great staff that work so hard there. I hope the police catch the sad little **** that done this and teach them a lesson rather than a slap on the wrists. What next . . . Cause a fire with the children in there? Make them work in prison to pay for some new toys and repairs for the school. Saint1980
  • Score: 5

12:15am Fri 13 Jun 14

dirtymatron says...

michtapp wrote:
who can i contact to help with some of my son's train track, trains and some books for when they reopen so the kids have some toys to play with xx
07808 436313 this is squirrels corner mobile number. Someone will be able to help you. Thank you so much in advance.
[quote][p][bold]michtapp[/bold] wrote: who can i contact to help with some of my son's train track, trains and some books for when they reopen so the kids have some toys to play with xx[/p][/quote]07808 436313 this is squirrels corner mobile number. Someone will be able to help you. Thank you so much in advance. dirtymatron
  • Score: 0

6:36am Fri 13 Jun 14

michtapp says...

Starof3 wrote:
michtapp wrote:
who can i contact to help with some of my son's train track, trains and some books for when they reopen so the kids have some toys to play with xx
Hi if you can be at the pre-school Monday morning that's great if not we can arrange pick up from you :) and thank you so much for your help
hi ive e-mailed gennette about this and will sort it out with her for either collection or for me to deliver,it will have to be later in the week than monday as got hetic weekend and want my son who is coming up to finishing his first year of school and totally loved pre-school to help me sort the toys and book so he know who he is helping and if its possible to e-mail me some names of the children (just first of course) so he and his class at school can do a card for them as well, my e-mail is mtapp294@gmail.com. and im just glad to help out xxx
[quote][p][bold]Starof3[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]michtapp[/bold] wrote: who can i contact to help with some of my son's train track, trains and some books for when they reopen so the kids have some toys to play with xx[/p][/quote]Hi if you can be at the pre-school Monday morning that's great if not we can arrange pick up from you :) and thank you so much for your help[/p][/quote]hi ive e-mailed gennette about this and will sort it out with her for either collection or for me to deliver,it will have to be later in the week than monday as got hetic weekend and want my son who is coming up to finishing his first year of school and totally loved pre-school to help me sort the toys and book so he know who he is helping and if its possible to e-mail me some names of the children (just first of course) so he and his class at school can do a card for them as well, my e-mail is mtapp294@gmail.com. and im just glad to help out xxx michtapp
  • Score: 4

9:08am Fri 13 Jun 14

Julia14 says...

As secretary for the Hall management committee may I thank everyone for their support. The team and expense that volunteers and council staff have to go through after an incident like this is unbelievable. We regret that the clubs that meet in the week and the pre school have been affected again and that the Hall is losing income:- we wil endeavour to get this resolves asap Julia
As secretary for the Hall management committee may I thank everyone for their support. The team and expense that volunteers and council staff have to go through after an incident like this is unbelievable. We regret that the clubs that meet in the week and the pre school have been affected again and that the Hall is losing income:- we wil endeavour to get this resolves asap Julia Julia14
  • Score: 1

8:26pm Fri 13 Jun 14

funky_bus says...

This is disgusting!! So sorry to read about this! Scary to think this is just up the road from where we live! I run the Funky Playbus covering the Hampshire region.... If we can help in any way.... Please let us know!

I went to Moorlands and Townhill Middle School when I was a lad... Only too pleased to help in getting this group up and running again. - Simon Beckingham.
This is disgusting!! So sorry to read about this! Scary to think this is just up the road from where we live! I run the Funky Playbus covering the Hampshire region.... If we can help in any way.... Please let us know! I went to Moorlands and Townhill Middle School when I was a lad... Only too pleased to help in getting this group up and running again. - Simon Beckingham. funky_bus
  • Score: 1

9:38pm Fri 13 Jun 14

LouB24 says...

funky_bus wrote:
This is disgusting!! So sorry to read about this! Scary to think this is just up the road from where we live! I run the Funky Playbus covering the Hampshire region.... If we can help in any way.... Please let us know!

I went to Moorlands and Townhill Middle School when I was a lad... Only too pleased to help in getting this group up and running again. - Simon Beckingham.
Hi something like this would be great if you can contact Squirrels Corner on 07808 436313 I'm sure they would love to hear from you.
[quote][p][bold]funky_bus[/bold] wrote: This is disgusting!! So sorry to read about this! Scary to think this is just up the road from where we live! I run the Funky Playbus covering the Hampshire region.... If we can help in any way.... Please let us know! I went to Moorlands and Townhill Middle School when I was a lad... Only too pleased to help in getting this group up and running again. - Simon Beckingham.[/p][/quote]Hi something like this would be great if you can contact Squirrels Corner on 07808 436313 I'm sure they would love to hear from you. LouB24
  • Score: 0

1:22pm Mon 16 Jun 14

Spooner01 says...

funky_bus wrote:
This is disgusting!! So sorry to read about this! Scary to think this is just up the road from where we live! I run the Funky Playbus covering the Hampshire region.... If we can help in any way.... Please let us know!

I went to Moorlands and Townhill Middle School when I was a lad... Only too pleased to help in getting this group up and running again. - Simon Beckingham.
Hi Simon , it's Genette here the chair person of the pre school. Can you please contact the pre school on the number from previous post so we can sort something out to cheer the children up please and the staff. We are very interested :)
[quote][p][bold]funky_bus[/bold] wrote: This is disgusting!! So sorry to read about this! Scary to think this is just up the road from where we live! I run the Funky Playbus covering the Hampshire region.... If we can help in any way.... Please let us know! I went to Moorlands and Townhill Middle School when I was a lad... Only too pleased to help in getting this group up and running again. - Simon Beckingham.[/p][/quote]Hi Simon , it's Genette here the chair person of the pre school. Can you please contact the pre school on the number from previous post so we can sort something out to cheer the children up please and the staff. We are very interested :) Spooner01
  • Score: 0

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