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Market Deeping Model Railway Club fund donations reach £40,000 after exhibition show was ruined during break in at Stamford Welland Academy school hall

A fund set up to raise £500 for a vandal-hit model railway club has reached £40,000 in less than 24 hours.

Donations are flooding in to the JustGiving page after four youths broke in to Stamford Welland Academy school hall where Market Deeping Model Railway Club was holding an exhibition.

Overnight they wrecked the exhibits and appeared to have thrown model engines through basketball hoops and stamped on them.

The JustGiving crowdfunding page (10698361)
The JustGiving crowdfunding page (10698361)

Members of the club were devastated when they arrived on the morning of the exhibition to find their models - some which had taken years to build - had been destroyed overnight.

One of the smashed models was worth about £8,000, while the total invested in the exhibits by club members and visiting clubs ran in to tens of thousands of pounds.

Some of the damaged exhibits (10594292)
Some of the damaged exhibits (10594292)

On the JustGiving page, set up by the Market Deeping Club with a modest £500 target to help the club 'back onto its feet', many donors have left messages.

This morning, Laura Chandler said: "I know this won’t buy back the time you’ve spent carefully crafting your models, but I hope this restores your faith in people."

Another said: "My dad brought us up on model railway exhibitions and now we take our children to them. They bring a lot of joy to so many. We were devastated to read this."

Destruction in the school hall (10581566)
Destruction in the school hall (10581566)

Donations and messages of support have come from fellow modellers, from model rail companies such as Hornby, and from people living in the Stamford and Market Deeping areas.

Click here to read the Mercury's original article and view photos of the devastation that the rail modellers were faced with when they came to open their show on Saturday (May 18) morning.

The four youths had been found in the school by officers with a police dog at around 4am on Saturday. The alarm had been raised by neighbours of the secondary school in Green Lane.

The youths were arrested on suspicion of burglary and criminal damage and have since been released on conditional bail.

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