A school community is 'heartbroken' after playground equipment was destroyed in an arson attack.

On Friday evening, firefighters from Hook Norton Fire Station were called to Hook Norton Primary School on Sibford Road, near Banbury, where play equipment was set alight.

Pictures show the wooden adventure playground engulfed in flames including the school's new and 'much-loved' pirate ship which was recently built to celebrate the school’s silver jubilee. 

The Oxford Times:

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Using high pressure hose reel jets, firefighters quickly got to work tackling the blaze and eventually put the fire out, stopping it from spreading to the surrounding school buildings.

Thames Valley Police are investigating the incident as arson.

People have expressed their shock and sadness over the incident on the Hook Norton Village Facebook page including headteacher, Stella Belgrove.

She said: "I am heartbroken - this was my last big project before retiring, to celebrate the school’s silver jubilee. Parents and staff worked so hard to raise the money for it. I was the first to have a go on it, followed by 250 children who have loved it in the short time it was there. 

"Many thanks to the fire fighters and to the staff and governors who responded so quickly."

Villagers in Hook Norton commented too.

Damon Lockyer said: "This is shocking news, I'm so saddened by this mindless vandalism, I hope whoever is responsible is caught very soon."

The Oxford Times: The wooden climbing frame after the fireThe wooden climbing frame after the fire

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Jay Midgey-Gow said: "Can’t understand the unkind, small minded, horrid people who will destroy other people’s things/property that they have put a lot of money and hard work in to. This was a very horrid thing to do to our local school."

A Go Fund Me page has been set up by Friends of Hook Norton School (FOHNS) - the school's charity - for people to donate towards building a new playground.

Its goal is to raise £20,000 and so far, £2,506 has been donated in just one day.

On the fundraising page, FOHNS said: "The pupils, parents and staff of Hook Norton CEP School were devastated to witness the thoughtless act of vandalism that occurred at our school on the evening of 26th July 2019, resulting in the destruction of our new and much-loved pirate ship and other play equipment.

"We have been deeply touched by the messages of support that we have received from our fantastic Hook Norton community and beyond.

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The Oxford Times: File picture of Hook Norton Primary School. Pic: Julian Rus File picture of Hook Norton Primary School. Pic: Julian Rus

"In response to the outpouring of support that we have received and the many offers of donations, we have set up this page to enable those that would like to, to donate to our wonderful school.

"Although we are insured we anticipate extra costs and to know that there are wonderful people who don't know us, but want to help us, will send a powerful message to our pupils and our community."

If you would like to donate, go to gofundme.co.uk.

To assist the police in their investigation, call 101.