Stanwick Lakes superhero cousins assemble to protect playground destroyed by arson

The five cousins who live in Raunds and Rushden are regular visitors to Stanwick Lakes

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 4:15 pm
l-r Jasper, Alexander, Leo, Austin, Albie

A six-year-old Rushden boy has been so gutted to see his beloved Stanwick Lakes play area destroyed by arsonists he has asked children from across the area to become superheroes.

Austin Buchanan woke up to the news on Saturday morning (April 10) that the wooden adventure playground castle had been destroyed by fire.

Instead of feeling powerless the schoolboy was determined to help, suggesting to his parents he could get a job to help pay for a replacement.

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Raunds firefighters took the photo of the destroyed playarea

Dad James Buchanan said: "After the tragic incident at Stanwick Lakes my children were absolutely gutted to see the awful pictures of the playground they loved to play on.

"Austin was desperate to do something to help out and asked us if he could start work to give them money.

"Obviously we told him he was too young to work. He offered his ten pound note thinking that would be enough but we explained we would need more, so after a long think he wanted to do something fun.

"Both him and his brother Albie came up with some weird and wonderful ideas on how to donate money but they decided to do a fun run dressed as superheroes to protect the place."

Austin leads the way

On Sunday, the team of superheroes assembled, with Austin in a firefighter outfit, little brother Albie, four, as Flash with cousins Jasper, Alexander and Leo Moreton from Raunds donning their Spider-man, Bat Man and Captain America costumes.

The families made a generous donation to the Just Giving fundraising page and ran around the Solstice Lake.

James said: "We thought this could be a great way for young children to go and have fun in their favourite fancy dress while donating to this wonderful cause.

"It would put a smile on everyone's faces seeing the children go around the lake dressed in their superhero outfit or dressed as a princess for the next few weeks.

l-r Austin and Albie

"We want to show Stanwick Lakes how special and amazing the site is and that we all love going there."

Yesterday, Northants Police confirmed that the destruction of the timber structure was to be treated as arson describing the fire as 'utterly mindless vandalism'.

But bosses at the Stanwick Lakes have pledged to rebuild the park and say they have been overwhelmed by donations and pledges of support.

The two families often meet at the popular waterside venue and are season ticket holders and often pop in for a coffee at the visitor centre.

On the run

James added: "Austin didn’t like seeing the burnt playground but did say with the money we and others have donated, he looks forward to watching the new equipment being built.

"Albie said he was running around the lake as a superhero to keep the ‘bad guys’ away.

"We hope this encourages other children, heroes and princesses to run around the lake and donate in support of the rebuilding of the large play area.

"The boys ran incredibly well and they made many other visitors smile, some even cheered them on along the way.

"It really feels like the whole community have got together in support of Stanwick Lakes after this awful incident."

A Northamptonshire Police spokesman said: "We are definitely treating this as an incident of arson and an investigation is under way.

Superheroes on their run

"We would encourage people in the local area to review any CCTV, dashcam or doorbell footage they may have to see if it shows anyone acting suspiciously between about 12.50am and 1.30am on the morning of April 10.

"The incident number is 21000196375 and people can contact us on the usual 101 number or phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111."

Donations to the Go Fund Me that has already raised more than £17,184can be made by clicking here.