A FUNDRAISING campaign has been launched to try and get a college boat house in Durham ‘back on its feet’ after a devastating fire ripped through the facility earlier this week.

Flames were seen coming from the Van Mildert College boat house, opposite Dunelm House, on Tuesday (December 21) at around 7pm, with emergency crews attempting to extinguish the fire for an hour and a half.

Despite managing to stop the fire from spreading any further, firefighters working on the blaze could salvage little of the actual boat house, which has been used by the college’s rowing club since the 1960s.

Read more: First pictures show impact of fire at Durham college boat house

Now that Van Mildert College have had time to process the “heart-breaking” loss for their rowing club, attentions have now turned to rebuilding the facility, which is estimated to cost around £100,000.

Since Tuesday’s fire, a fundraising page has been set up by the boat club’s treasurer, Jess Scott, who is desperate to get a new facility for the college.

The online fundraising page is looking to raise over £6000 for minor equipment, with the treasurer confirming that the boat house building was insured by Durham University.

The Northern Echo: The aftermath of the Van Mildert boat house fire that destroyed the facility on Tuesday (December 21).The aftermath of the Van Mildert boat house fire that destroyed the facility on Tuesday (December 21).

She said: “On the evening of December 21, Van Mildert Boat Club sadly burnt down, destroying all of our boats, blades and other equipment that was stored in our boathouse.

“We are waiting to hear more news regarding the related insurance payouts and are raising this fund as a more rapidly accessible supplement.”

Ms Scott has also revealed that the college will be building a new boat house “as soon as possible,” and has thanked those that have already contributed funds.

The Northern Echo: A fundraising page has been launched to cover the costs of the equipment lost in the fire. Photo: SARAH CALDECOTT.A fundraising page has been launched to cover the costs of the equipment lost in the fire. Photo: SARAH CALDECOTT.

So far, the fundraising page has reached £5930 in the first 17 hours of being active.

The treasurer added: “We intend to use donations to buy smaller pieces of equipment that were bought and owned by the club and stored in our boathouse but were not insured.

“We will be building a new boathouse and purchasing replacement equipment in the near future.

Here's a statement from Van Mildert College Boating Club on social media: 

“This is a sad day for the generations of Mildertians who have rowed for the College and for everyone in our community who supports them.

We’re enormously grateful for the messages of support we’ve received over the last 12 hours. We hope to rebuild as soon as we can.

“Although we have lost our physical assets, our community is as strong as ever and we endeavour to rebuild our boathouse as rapidly as possible.”

Alongside the fundraising page, investigations remain ongoing between Durham University and Durham Constabulary to look into the factors surrounding the fire.

Read more: Durham University rowing club boathouse hit by large fire

A spokeswoman from Durham Constabulary said: "We were alerted to a fire at the boathouse of Van Mildert Boat Club, in Durham City, shortly after 9.05pm yesterday (December 21).

"An investigation is ongoing into the circumstances surrounding the incident."

A spokesperson for Durham University added: “We were notified of an incident late on Tuesday evening at Van Mildert boathouse. The incident was attended by the emergency services and there were no reported injuries. 

“An investigation into the cause of this incident is underway and we will continue to work closely with Durham Constabulary and their experts as the investigation continues.” 

People who wish to donate to the fundraising page can do so here

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