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Fundraising campaign launched after minibus stolen from Dagenham school

The minibus was found dumped in Tilbury stripped of it’s parts

A fundraising campaign has launched after thieves stole a vital minibus from a school in Dagenham.

The vehicle was stolen from Southwood Primary School car park on Friday, 17 November.

It was found dumped in Tilbury two days later (Sunday, 19 November) – stripped of its engine, doors and seats.

The school has now launched a Go Fund Me page to raise £15,000 after finding out that the insurance payout doesn’t cover the costs of a replacement vehicle.

PE Teacher at the school, Stewart Stevens said:  “We’ve set a Go Fund Me Page up called Southwood minibus appeal and our target is £15,000.

“I know it’s alot of money but the average cost for a second hand minibus at the moment is between £25,000 and £30,000.

“It was fully insured but what we’ll get back from the insurance company, because the cost of minibuses has gone throw the roof over the last couple of years, it won’t go anyone near buying a replacement minibus and that’s why we’re going out to everybody to help – any type of donation will help.”

The school are appealing for individual donations and businesses who can help. Stevens said there’s also potential opportunity for local businesses who help to have their logo on the vehicle itself.

The bus was used regularly by the school prior to the theft.

The minibus was stripped of it’s parts when it was found

“We use it now for everyday, we go on educational trips, we take children out for days, sporting activities. We take our SEN children out for activities for things like swimming and over the park where they can’t manage to travel anywhere so that’s all been put on hold for the moment.

“If we’re taking 15 or so children out for an activity. When it was in the minibus it was fine, it was all enclosed.

“Now when we have to take them onto the streets and public transport, it’s alot more stressful.”

“They (the children) are heartbroken. When it first happened on the Monday morning, the children said to us ‘Where’s the minibus gone’ and when you tried to explain it to them that people have taken it or stole it and they go ‘Why’. You try to explain to an 8-year-old child why someone has stolen a minibus and they don’t understand it.”

Headteacher, Scott Halliwell said: “For people to support us in this and help us get back up and running, literally, would mean the world to us.”

“Donations can be made via the Gofundme page at Southwood minibus appeal.

“All help and support is greatly appreciated – lets put a smile back on the faces of our children.”

The Metropolitan Police said no arrests have been made.

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