“I don’t know where we go from here. I was just so shocked when I got here to see it all on fire.”
That was the reaction of the people who run the People’s Community Allotments in Bletchley, which was devastated by an arson attack on Tuesday evening.
Police and firefighters attended the scene in Pinewood Drive at around 5.30pm, which saw two sheds burnt out, a greenhouse melted, and an eco-toilet destroyed.
The cost of the damage is believed to run to thousands of pounds, and the group may now have to fold.
Chairman Jean Crussell told the Citizen: “I got a message from my friend to say that it was on fire, and I just ran here as quickly as I could.
“The emergency services were arriving at the same time as me, and of course they couldn’t let me anywhere near it until it was safe.
“I was almost in tears, and we all feel the same. These allotments have been here for about 15 years, and all the work we’ve done, all that we’ve built – it’s all gone up in smoke.”
In addition to the destroyed buildings, a range of equipment collected and donated over the years was also ruined.
The group only runs on a small scale, producing fresh vegetables with a regular surplus given to charities.
It only had third party insurance, and was not covered for fire. Ms Crussell said: “There’s no money to speak of that could replace everything we’ve lost.
“Even little things that have been destroyed – like kettles, or trowels, or coffee, or chairs – they were all part of what brought us together as a community.
“Now we have to start again, from scratch. I don’t know if we have it in us to do that.”
Thames Valley Police is investigating the fire. No arrests have been made at the time of going to press.