Thomas Wolsey School where cherished new teepee was destroyed by vandals ‘blown away’ by community’s fundraising response

Pupils and staff at Thomas Wolsey School on the site of the teepee that was vandalised.

Pupils and staff at Thomas Wolsey School on the site of the teepee that was vandalised.

The headteacher of a special school in Ipswich left devastated after a much-loved teepee was destroyed in a fire has thanked the community for its fundraising help.

CCTV taken during the summer holiday of the fire-destroyed teepee at Thomas Wolsey School, Ipswich

CCTV taken during the summer holiday of the fire-destroyed teepee at Thomas Wolsey School, Ipswich - Credit: cont

The educational teepee, described as calming sanctuary for story-telling and role-playing, was the centrepiece of a long-awaited £30,000 overhaul of the garden area at Thomas Wolsey School in Defoe Road in May.

But it was repeatedly targeted by vandals and eventually destroyed in a fire in August.

The school contacted the Star and asked businesses and members of the public to donate money for a new and more secure replacement – and more than £200 has now been raised on the school’s online Just Giving page.

Headteacher Rupe Hosie said: “We have been blown away by all the support. People were so appalled by what happened and have been very kind. We would like to thank everyone who has helped out so far.”

One person who donated to the Just Giving page wrote: “Disgusted to read about the vandalism. Hope this small amount can go towards replacing the teepee. You are a fantastic school and you and your students deserve better than this.”

Meanwhile, Kathy Bole, Suffolk County Council’s Labour councillor for Whitehouse and Whitton in Ipswich, said the Labour Group will also pledge funds.

Mrs Bole, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair, said: “We have a locality budget that we can earmark for different stuff and when I saw the report of the problem with the teepee I immediately got in touch with Rupe.

Most Read

“I told her that I have spoken to the Labour councillors and they are willing to chip in a bit.

“They waited two years for that teepee to be delivered and within three months it was burnt. The kids didn’t really get a chance to enjoy it.

“I have run these type of projects before and realised that to get the best out of these kids and provide them with the things they need to learn, they need stuff which is different to other kids, and with things getting tighter and tighter I don’t want them to lose out.”

Police are still investigating. To help the school, call the school on 01473 467600 or visit their Facebook page here.