'Devastated' Rod Stewart donates £10k after model railway exhibition trashed

19 May 2019, 21:55 | Updated: 21 May 2019, 11:56

Rod Stewart

Sir Rod Stewart has donated £10,000 to a model railway club after its collections were trashed by vandals.

Members of the Market Deeping Model Railway Club in Lincolnshire said they were left "overwhelmed" after people from around the world donated more than £50,000 before Sir Rod's generous donation.

The total is now at £61,000.

The exhibition was completely destroyed as members arrived to open up ahead of the first day of their annual Stamford Show.

Sir Rod, who built up his own model railway over more than 20 years, is urging his fellow musicians to dig deep following the vandalism and says he is "absolutely devastated".

The club's members had spent hours painstakingly setting up at Welland Academy but had to cancel the weekend's events after the scale of the destruction was realised.

Speaking about the model railway owners, Sir Rod said: "I feel their pain.

"I was absolutely devastated to hear that vandals had destroyed what was to be a lovely show by the Market Deeping Model Railway Club over the weekend.

"The collection was priceless and I am donating £10,000 to help compensate those affected and asking fellow enthusiasts Jools Holland, Roger Daltrey and others to do the same."

The singer added: "It took me 23 years to build my model railway so I feel their pain."

The star is said to be the proud owner of a model of New York's Grand Central Station, complete with talking conductors and air-conditioned skyscrapers.

In the hours after the vandalism, the club set up a JustGiving page in the hope of raising £500 to help recoup some of the costs.

Chairman Peter Davies told Sky News: "We are totally overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit, act and finance.

"It means an enormous amount to us. It will enable us to do things we had only dreamed of doing - quite what, we don't know yet."

He said the club hadn't fully comprehended the financial impact of the damage, but that he knew one piece was worth more than £8,000.

The club has received worldwide support from fellow model train enthusiasts, including an email from a woman in Washington DC who said she was relieved her train-loving father wasn't alive to see the devastation caused.

Mr Davies said he'd also received messages from people in Brazil, New York, New Zealand and from clubs closer to home.

Mr Davies, a retired teacher, said he had never seen anything like the vandalism that was carried out.

He said: "It was heart-rending and disturbing. We had a lot of very upset people."

As well as his club, which has 43 members, he said traders and other club members had been affected, and believed about 100 people were impacted in total.

Lincolnshire Police said four youths had been arrested and subsequently released on conditional bail pending investigation.

In a statement, it said: "About 0350 today (Saturday) we were alerted by a local resident that noises had been heard coming from Queen Eleanor School in Stamford and a short time later whilst we were on our way to the call, the alarm at the school activated.

"On arrival at the school we arrested four youths, who were on the premises, for burglary and criminal damage and they are in custody at Grantham.

"We are continuing our investigation and confirm damage was done to model railway exhibits which had been set up in the school for a display today."