Who says community spirit is dead?
Biggleswade Scout Group leaders have been left ‘gobsmacked’ after the community rallied round to support it after a break in.
I’m lost for words to be honest. The generosity of the people of Biggleswade is just incredible. It’s breathtaking.Jessica Cobb, Biggleswade Scout Group leader
Around £1,500 of camping gear was stolen from the group’s headquarters in the early hours of Tuesday.
Frustrated explorer scout leader Beverley Lattimer took to Facebook after three of the scouts’ four storage sheds were looted.
Within hours, We Love Biggleswade Facebook page member Lynn Brisco suggested a whip round to help replace the lost items, with fellow member April Harper getting a fundraising website up and running.
And in less than a day they had smashed their £500 target.
Biggleswade Scout Group leader Jessica Cobb said: “When I got to the scout hut yesterday morning I cried because I was so angry and upset.
“Everything we have we have to fundraise for ourselves, so for someone to do that, they’re effectively stealing from a children’s charity.
“Our explorer scout leader put a post on Facebook, and of course it snowballed. When I saw the reaction I teared up again. We were absolutely gobsmacked.”
She added: “I’m lost for words to be honest. The generosity of the people of Biggleswade is just incredible. It’s breathtaking.”
Jessica explained that the scouts regularly go on camping trips, with the explorers having just returned from one.
Among the items stolen were tents, a large shelter, gas lamps and the poles to a 20-berth tent – but not the canvas.
The scouts have now moved all their equipment off site.
Lynn, who came up with the fundraising idea, said: “I’m a great believer of paying it forward.
“My children don’t go to scouts, because they are very girly girls, and it’s not really their thing. But after seeing that post I thought ‘we’ve got 1,600 members on this page, if every person donated £2 instead of buying a cup of coffee or going out for a pint, we could make a lot of money’.
“The reaction has been brilliant.”
She added: “At the end of the day it’s something for kids to do, and there isn’t an awful lot of that in Biggleswade.”
Beverley Lattimer, Phoenix Explorer Scout Group leader discovered the break in, and spent five hours at the hut, sorting through the damaged and stolen kit.
She said: “In less than 24 hours over £500 had been raised and the total is still rising. A staggering amount showing what a fantastic community we live in and that the majority of people are good people.
“It is however so frustrating that a small minority of people think it is ok to steal from others, especially a charity youth organisation.
“An awful lot of effort goes into raising funds in the first place to provide kit to enable the volunteer leaders to take the youth of the town on camps and trips so they can have fun experiences.
“Biggleswade Explorer Scouts have been saddened by the burglary but absolutely astonished by the generosity of the people donating to replace the kit and would like to offer their gratitude and thanks to the people of Biggleswade so thank you, thank you and thank you.”
If you would like to make a donation to the Biggleswade Scout Group, visit www.gofundme.com/nohn5k
The Biggleswade community Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/groups/welovebiggleswade