A PUBLIC appeal launched by a Droitwich businessman to raise money to help replace playground equipment destroyed by fire in Lido Park, has already exceeded its target.

The Just Giving appeal was set up by Matt Nicol of Nicol & Co Estate Agents in the town, and launched with a £3,000 donation from the company ‘to get things underway’.

The campaign set a target of £5,000 for its fundraising efforts, but after only three days, it had already raised more than £9,000 towards replacing the equipment destroyed.

Wychavon District Council, which operates the playground, gave its thanks for the generosity of the townspeople in their quick response to the suspected arson attack, which took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Phil Merrick, head of community services at Wychavon District Council, said: “We’ve been totally overwhelmed by the public’s response to the fire. Our moods were pretty down after seeing the damage to the play area and especially knowing that it was deliberately done. But the campaign and the public reaction have really lifted our spirits.

“The donations are great and the comments are very inspiring – they’ve helped to lift our resolve. We thank everyone who is involved with this campaign and all those kind and generous people who have donated their money.”

Mr Nicol added: “We've all been past the Lido park play area or used it with our children at some point. It's important to the local area and therefore important to us. We want to raise as much money as we can locally to help the council replace and improve the park – and hopefully with enough money raised it will be open again in time for the summer holidays.”

Wychavon District Council plans to work with Mr Nicol to decide how best to use the money in Lido Park, and hopefully return the equipment in time for children to still make use of it this summer.

To follow the campaign, or give a donation, visit justgiving.com/yimby/LidoPark.