A SCOUT group which lost decades' worth of equipment when it went mouldy during lockdown have thanked the community which helped get it back up and running.

The 9th Darlington Scouts group, which is based at Harrowgate Hill Methodist Church, in Lowson Street, ended up having to chuck out thousands of pounds worth of equipment.

Leader Sarah Tennant said: "It was heartbreaking.

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"When we went into lockdown we moved everything online. The room where everything is kept is off to the side and the doors were closed and heating was off and everything had gone mouldy.

"When we were able to reopen we went to get things ready for the kids but it was awful - there was almost nothing we could save. The fabric had rotted, the tents were mouldy. Everything was covered in white mould. It smelled so bad. We hadn't seen anything like it before.

"Every little bit of history was lost."

The Northern Echo: All the equipment which had to be thrown out after lockdown

The group, which was set up more than a century ago, has been based in the same building since the 1930s and had decades' worth of camping equipment, tents and maps, as well as things that had been donated by parents over the years to help families struggling to buy things like sleeping bags and rucksacks.

They decided to launch an emergency appeal earlier this year and was overwhelmed by the response.

Mrs Tennant, who husband Will is also a leader, added: "Straight away people heard our story and started donating and we hit our target almost straight away. We never thought we would get so much.

"We had messages from as far away as New Zealand. We are very much family-led and it went crazy. Parents have been donating all sorts of things like pens and paper and craft material.

"We want to thank them all. All the leaders have helped so much. Without everyone's help we wouldn't have been able to run camps this year because we just didn't have the stuff."

Thanks to the generosity of parents, the community and The Springfield Pub, which held a community day to help, they were able to raise more than £3,000 and buy enough tents to run a camp over the summer.

Mr Tennant added: "Seeing them on camp this year was extra special. It was brilliant. We couldn't ask for a better group. We just want to thank everyone."

They have also been able to get their mini bus, which had suffered due to lack of use during lockdown, up and running again.

The group has sections for cubs, beavers, scouts, and explorers and is also looking for youngsters for a new squirrel unit, for children aged four to six.

Anyone who is interested in joining or any adults interested in becoming a leader can email join@darlingtonscouts.org.uk.

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