Bar donates more than £2,000 to Redbourn special needs school after arson attack

PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 February 2018

St Luke's Foundation School executive head Stephen Hoult-Allen and pupil James Goalby, 11, recieve a cheque for over £2000 from James' dad John Goalby and Bob Jones, patrons of the Bodega Bar and Restaurant and the

St Luke's Foundation School executive head Stephen Hoult-Allen and pupil James Goalby, 11, recieve a cheque for over £2000 from James' dad John Goalby and Bob Jones, patrons of the Bodega Bar and Restaurant and the "Old Gits corner". Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2018

More than £2,000 has been raised for a special needs school after arsonists burnt down a classroom and allowed donkeys to escape.

The burnt down outside classroom at St Luke's Special School. Picture: Danny LooThe burnt down outside classroom at St Luke's Special School. Picture: Danny Loo

Last July criminals incinerated a newly built outside classroom in St Luke’s School in Redbourn, setting loose two donkeys and devastating the vulnerable students.

Although the donkeys were found wandering unharmed through Harpenden Gold Club at 5am the following day, the school was left with a £35,000 bill for a classroom the students had not yet used.

A Watford bar, Bodegas, heard about the incident from a parent and decided to donate their annual charity jar takings to the cause - some £2,300.

Manager Riki Ratambwa said he enjoyed presenting The Friends of St Luke’s with the cheque: “It was really nice, we went to the school and the kids were really proud that we had raised that money.”

The burnt down outside classroom at St Luke's Special School. Picture: Danny LooThe burnt down outside classroom at St Luke's Special School. Picture: Danny Loo

Dad John Goalby and his son James, who is a pupil with autism, helped Riki to hand over the money.

He said: “I don’t think there’s that many schools in the area that cater for children with difficulties and they put a lot of work into looking after the children here - and some of the children are quite challenging.

“So I think it’s a great thing to do. They do a fantastic job with the children.

“The charity jar is great - everyone puts in a couple of pounds here and there and it soon adds up.

The burnt down outside classroom at St Luke's Special School. Picture: Danny LooThe burnt down outside classroom at St Luke's Special School. Picture: Danny Loo

“For just one place it’s quite a lot of money and the school really appreciate it.”

Acting headteacher of St Luke’s, Carol Morris, said: “It is a very nice offer, it is fantastic because it is something we had not expected. For a parent to go out and do that - we are extremely appreciative.”

She said because the school has decided to modify the design of the classroom when it is rebuilt, the insurance does not fully cover its losses. The last teaching room was on stilts and the new classroom will not be.

A security fence which was damaged, and through which the donkeys were probably let loose, has been repaired.

The burnt down outside classroom at St Luke's Special School nearly reached the stables but luckily stopped short. Picture: Danny LooThe burnt down outside classroom at St Luke's Special School nearly reached the stables but luckily stopped short. Picture: Danny Loo

St Luke’s is a Special Educational Needs School for children with learning disabilities and complex needs, including autistic spectrum disorder, speech and language communication needs and moderate learning disabilities.

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