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Community rallies to help blaze hit club

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By Newsdesk
Dumfries and West
Community rallies to help blaze hit club

OVER £21,300 has already been raised to help a wheelchair racing club replace equipment lost in a fire this week.

A crowdfunded was set up following the blaze at David Keswick Centre in Dumfries on Monday evening in which a container full of custom and racing wheelchairs, spare parts, helmets, gloves and other items was damaged by heat and smoke.

The equipment is worth tens of thousands of pounds.

But donations are already flooding in to help buy new items and the appeal was today at £21,377 and rising.

Meanwhile, the woman behind Dumfries and Galloway Wheelchair Track Athletics Club has spoken of her devastation at the incident.

Scottish wheelchair T33 racer Shelby Watson, from Johnstonebridge, said: “My emotions and my belief in humanity are broken.

“I was barely 15 when me and my dad started a collection for disabled sporting equipment. It was my dream to start a club for disabled people like myself.

“Yet I see pictures of my dreams – and others’ dreams – go up in smoke. Literally. I don’t even have time to process that some of my stuff is gone, wheels, gloves, tyres, my gifted racing helmet.

“I just look at the dust and see my young athletes’ racers, frames and gloves etc melted to the ground.

“It’s taken so many years to get the contents of this container full.

“Anyone with a disability or who knows someone with a disability knows the sheer expense of this stuff. And it’s gone. Years of work, gone.

“I cannot believe a person(s) could do this. Could destroy a disabled club’s equipment.”

She had to phone around young athletes to tell them that their beloved source of freedom is no longer usable.

Shelby added: “I hope it was worth whatever kicks that someone got out of this.

“I can’t even process what’s been done and the damage both physically and mentally this has done.”

Police said a 15-year-old youth has been charged in relation to the fire. A report will be sent to the Youth Justice Coordinator in Dumfries.

To donate to the appeal, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/wheelchair-training-equipment?utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer

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