- Vandals devastated a railway convention in Market Deeping, eastern England, knocking over tables and throwing models through basketball hoops.
- Some of the models destroyed were worth thousands of pounds and took years to put together.
- Train enthusiasts around the world donated more than £52,000 ($US66,265) to the model railway club.
- Its chairman told INSIDER that members are “totally overjoyed by the generosity of spirit.”
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Vandals devastated a model railway convention in the UK, ruining “irreplaceable” models worth thousands of pounds.
The incident forced the Market Deeping Model Railway Club, in Lincolnshire, eastern England, to cancel an exhibition of model trains that was set to take part on Saturday, it said on its website.
Peter Davies, the club’s chairman, told the Rutland and Stamford Mercury that the culprits knocked over tables and threw some of the models through basketball hoops in the school hall where the show was supposed to take place.
“It’s heartbreaking. There were grown men with tears in their eyes because of what had been done, and I was one of them,” he said.
The vandals destroyed almost the entire exhibit, Davies told BBC News. One of the damaged locomotives was worth £8,500 ($US10,830), and one member lost 25 years worth of work, he said.
“Models that were made over years were trodden on and thrown around. It’s a total wanton destruction of the highest order,” Davies said. “I’ve never experienced anything like it. A hurricane would have done less damage.”
Police arrested four youths on suspicion of burglary and criminal damage, The Telegraph reported. They have been released on conditional bail as the investigation continues.
Train enthusiasts around the world donated to help the railway club replace some of its models.
They already gave more than ten times the original crowdfunding target of £500 ($US637). As of Monday afternoon, the page had more than £61,000 ($US77,628).
The campaign even attracted high profile donors like Sir Rod Stewart who pledged £10,000 ($US12,726), The Telegraph reported. The British rock singer said he worked on his own model railway for 23 years.
“We went from being completely overwhelmed with horror to being totally overjoyed by the generosity of spirit from across the world,” Davies told INSIDER.
Donors also left messages of support.
“The raw materials can be replaced. But thousands of hours of work cannot. My heartfelt good wishes from across the world,”one person wrote.
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