Model railway club chair ‘overwhelmed’ as £50,000 raised in 24 hours after vandals wreck exhibition

The chairman of a model railway club which had its exhibition wrecked by vandals said he was “overwhelmed” after £50,000 was raised in a day - on top of private offers of support.

Market Deeping Model Railway Club’s Stamford Show had to be cancelled on Saturday after the shocking damage carried out overnight.

Damage caused to the exhibition. Photo: Market Deeping Model Railway Club

Damage caused to the exhibition. Photo: Market Deeping Model Railway Club

Police arrested four youths over the incident, which caused thousands of pounds worth of damage, after being called to Stamford Welland Academy in Green Lane shortly before 4am on the Saturday.

The youths have been released on conditional bail while police enquiries continue.

Devastated members of the club began crowdfunding through JustGiving to try and raise £500 to help it “get back on its feet”, even though many of the models were “irreplaceable”.

But that target has now been absolutely smashed thanks to the donations of more than 3,000 people, leaving club chairman Peter Davies gobsmacked.

He told the Peterborough Telegraph: “We’ve not only had the crowdfunding appeal, we’ve had offers of finance privately because people don’t want to use crowdfunding sites.

“This morning I had an email from a lady in Canada who is sending us a cheque for $1,000.

“I’ve had offers of stock, offers of trade, offers of skills to rebuild - it’s just amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it.

“Between the exhibition manager, secretary and I we’ve had well over 600 emails to offer us a variety of things.

“A lady from North Carolina wants to send us her father’s locomotive stock. We’ve had offers to help from Brazil, the Netherlands and elsewhere - it’s just been unbelievable.

“People who are not modellers are contacting us full of empathy. It’s just so humbling to know there are all those people who share our horror and can put themselves in our place. It’s truly amazing.”

Mr Davies, who was receiving more emailed offers of support while speaking to the PT, said it was too early to say how the money will be spent, but that it “can never recompense hours put in to make those beautiful models”.

He added: “We will be accepting offers of skills and offers to replace what has been lost as some of it is not made any more.

“We want to get back to where we were, and the money also gives us development opportunities we could never have dreamed of.

“It’s just totally overwhelming and incredibly humbling.”

Mr Davies also thanked the academy for its support after the vandalism.

Donations can be made by visiting: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/market-deeping-mrc or by clicking this link.

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