Wildlife charity is hit by garden blaze

CCTV images showed three young people leaving the wildlife garden at St Nicholas Park in Gosforth, Newcastle, after the fire had started

St Nicholas Park, Gosforth
St Nicholas Park, Gosforth

Fire destroyed a bench at the headquarters of Northumberland Wildlife Trust in the early hours of yesterday .

CCTV images showed three young people leaving the wildlife garden at St Nicholas Park in Gosforth, Newcastle, after the fire had started.

The garden is used by day patients at the adjacent St Nicholas Hospital and visitors as well as hospital staff.

Duncan Hutt, the trust’s head of land management, said: “We are a charity and can ill afford this. It will cost over �500 to replace the bench and tidy the damage, using money which could have been put towards other conservation projects.”

The incident is the latest the trust has suffered in the last few years.

In 2010 its visitor centre at Hauxley, Northumberland, was burned down, while the trust has also lost bird hides to fire at its East Chevington reserve on the bay and at its Big Waters reserve on the outskirts of Newcastle.

But there was better news for the trust when it received �76,000 from the People’s Postcode Lottery.

Trust head of conservation Steve Lowe said: “This year, wildlife has faced more challenges than ever before and certainly since the wildlife trust movement was founded over 100 years ago.

“Wildlife can’t stand up for itself, so if we don’t do it, who will? This is why the support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery is so important to us.”

Chris Packham, naturalist, broadcaster and patron of the trust said: “I would like to say a massive thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for giving so generously to our projects in these tough times.”

“The funding is helping us protect the wildlife in Northumberland and educate the young and old alike.”

But it’s not just big projects which are benefiting.

The trust’s Wednesday Gardening Group, which meets each week to maintain the grounds of its St Nicholas Park headquarters, has just bought new gardening tools.

We are a charity and can ill afford this. It will cost over �500 to replace the bench

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