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Families 'devastated' by Guildford children's charity fire

Challengers fire Sept 17

6:00am 14th September 2017
(Updated 8:17am 14th September 2017)

A Burpham mum has told of her devastation following the fire at a popular Guildford children's charity.

Challengers' play centre has been destroyed due to Sunday's blaze.

It started from a tumble dryer, which was not in use, and took 32 firefighters to put out.

Children were inside the building at the time, however thankfully no one was hurt due to a swift evacuation.

Challengers has had to close this week though, much to the disappointment to staff and those who use the centre.

It has had a knock on effect on four year-old Toby, who has autism and other complex problems.

He frequently visits Challengers and mum Natasha Morris tells Eagle the change to his routine has been tough to take.

"Toby doesn't understand, he has his own sign to explain that he wants to go to Challengers and at the moment I have to say no." she said.

"He doesn't really understand, he's used to his routine of coming and now it has just gone.

"It's very hard on us as a family as we now have to deal with the impact it is having on him."


Eagle were given access to the building a day after the fire, our photos show the pure devastation of what was once a beautiful play centre.

Natasha tells Eagle she was absolutely shocked when she first heard the news: "I couldn't believe it.

"When I saw some of the videos I just sat at home and cried because as a parent this is the only respite I have.

"To know that this is Toby's happiest place in the whole world that has just been destroyed is heartbreaking for me as a mum because he can't come and other parents can't use this place."

Play services at the site have been suspended and it is not clear when they will resume, however it is hoped that a temporary service will start up next week.



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