DRAMA students went back to their old school to put on a fundraising show to help replace arson hit play equipment.

Members of Bishop Auckland Theatre Hooligans (BATH) designed the old play area at Crook Primary School when they were pupils there.

When the students, who now attend King James I Academy in Bishop Auckland, heard about the blaze in November last year they decided they wanted to help fund a replacement.

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Led by Year 11 pupil Meghan Helsop, BATH set about organising the Jamaica dance show, which took place at the primary school last night (Thursday, January 30).

Crook Primary School headteacher Antonella Lupton said the attack had been particularly distressing for the youngsters but they were delighted to receive help from former pupils.

“We have always had strong links with King James I Academy but this idea came completely out of the blue at the end of last term,” she said.

“The pupils asked if they could raise money and obviously we said thank you very much. They have a real strength of feeling about this.”

A number of the drama students helped with fundraising for the original one, as well as facilities for a school in Tanzania, which has links with the Crook school.

“The community have been great,” added Mrs Lupton. “It really shows the strength of feeling for the children in Crook and that good things can come out of something horrendous.

“We have been very touched by all the support we have received.”

Crook Primary School is already working with a play area company on the new facility, which pupils will help design. It is hoped the replacement will be built during the summer term.

The attack was the latest in a series of incidents at the school, which included a door being damaged and several windows being smashed between Tuesday, November 26, and the blaze, on Saturday, November 30.

Crook is not the first school in Wear Valley to suffer an arson attack on its play equipment.

A wooden fort was burned down at Wolsingham Primary School in January last year, but the £1,000 play area was rebuilt after the community and a local carpenter rallied round.