A crowdfunding initiative set up to help the Market Deeping Model Railway club, whose equipment was trashed by vandals early on Saturday morning ahead of their annual exhibition, has smashed its targets less than a day after it was set up.
As of 12.05pm on Monday, more than £52,000 had been raised from more than 3,100 separate donations - against an initial target of just £500.
In a message posted on the JustGiving page, Brian Norris, the club’s secretary, wrote: “Market Deeping Model Railway Club needs your help to rebuild. We have held our annual show in Stamford for the last 12 years. Months of planning goes into the show and years of work goes into building the layout. Imagine our horror and grief when we were greeted by this scene of absolute devastation on the morning of 18th May 2019.
“Some of the models on display are irreplaceable and whilst money cannot possibly replace the hours of painstaking effort that has been so wantonly destroyed, we would ask that you make a donation, no matter how small, to help us get back on our feet. Please accept our thanks in advance.”
Vandals have smashed up a model railway show, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage and leaving exhibitors “devastated and distraught”.
The club’s chairman, Peter Davies, 70, told BBC News on Saturday that the exhibits which were trashed included a locomotive unit worth around £8,500.
Four youths were arrested on suspicion of burglary and criminal damage and have since been released on conditional bail pending further inquiries.
Club members had set up scale models on tables in the school’s hall on Friday for their annual show, which was due to open on Saturday and had expected between 500 and 600 visitors.
“I trained as a teacher and a youth worker, but I’m in total confusion,” Davies told the BBC. “Models that were made over years were trodden on and thrown around. It’s a total wanton destruction of the highest order. I’ve never experienced anything like it. A hurricane would have done less damage.”
“It’s just horrendous. We will never have the time to build the sort of layouts again. That’s where the anger comes from.”
In a statement on Saturday, Lincolnshire police said: “On arrival at the school we arrested four youths, who were on the premises, for burglary and criminal damage. We are continuing our investigation and confirm damage was done to model railway exhibits which had been set up in the school for a display today.”