Thousands raised to help rebuild 'Secret Garden' destroyed during arson attack at pub near Luton

The new £25,000 'secret garden' was destroyed in the early hours of Wednesday morning

Friday, 16th April 2021, 8:47 am

Thousands of pounds has been raised to help rebuild a pub's Secret Garden, which was destroyed during an arson attack in the early hours of Wednesday morning (April 14).

The fundraising page, which was set up by The White Horse, in Tea Green - on the border of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire - after they received an overwhelming amount of support after sharing the news of the fire on their Facebook page.

The pub, which reopened today (April 15), will use the money raised to reconstruct the Secret Garden.

The pub's Secret Garden has been destroyed

Police were called at just after 8.30am on Wednesday (14 April) to a report of a fire in the garden of The White Horse in Tea Green.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue attended the fire in the garden and play area, one fire engine attended and the fire investigation was handed over to Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue.

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service was called at 8.06am yesterday morning to a report of a fire at a property at Tea Green.

"A fire engine from Bedfordshire, which was closest to the scene, attended and found a fire in an outdoor structure which they extinguished.

The pub's Secret Garden was destroyed during a fire

"The fire was initially reported as accidental, but following a fire investigation it is now believed to have been started deliberately."

Cheryl, manager at The White Horse, said: "Our maintenance man called me when he saw what had happened, and I called Jon and came straight here.

"There was nothing, it was all burnt down, the Secret Garden and about two thirds of the play area, completely gone.

"It was an arson attack, you can see [on CCTV] someone pour something over the back of the pods and set alight to it, it was just after 1am.

The White Horse invested £25,000 on the outdoor space

"It's just heart-breaking that all that hard work and investment we all put into making the a safe and secure place for visitors, and look amazing, has been destroyed.

"We were fully booked until the end of July, it would have been about £2,000 a day."

Hertfordshire Police are investigating the incident.

A spokesperson for the force said: "Officers and the fire service attended the scene and found the outside seating area had suffered substantial damage.

"It is believed the fire was started deliberately at around 1am and is being treated as arson. An investigation is underway and any witnesses or anyone with information should call the non-emergency number 101 quoting crime reference 41/26964/21.

"You can also report information online at www.herts.police.uk/Report or speak to an operator in our Force Communications Room via our online web chat, which can be launched here: www.herts.police.uk/Contact.

"Alternatively, you can stay 100% anonymous by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their untraceable online form at crimestoppers-uk.org."

The fundraising page which was created on Wednesday (April 14) has already raised over £4,300 - to make a donation visit: uk.gofundme.com/f/help-us-rebuild-your-secret-garden.

"The response since we put the message on our Facebook page has been heart warming.

"I love this pub, it is home for me, my customers are amazing. We have a great customer base, not just local people, but people from further afield too.

"We have had people who had their weddings here contact me asking if they can help, people have been really willing to help.

"We have received so many kind messages, it has really been amazing, and so heartwarming.

"It's nice to know that people care and appreciate all the hard work we have put into making this such a nice place.

"The response has been overwhelming, we are lucky that we have received so much support. I have a great team here, and Jon is great to work for.

"We made the garden better and someone tried to destroy it, but they can't and it's not just us that are refusing to let them destroy us, the public aren't either. We will use the money to try and rebuild it.

"It is such a difficult time for the hospitality business and for someone to destroy this is heartbreaking.

"We are very lucky that we still have a large garden that we can use, and we did also do that up.

"We felt like Luton needed this 'secret garden' and we loved creating it, hopefully we can try and rebuild it.

"We are still really busy and we want to thank everyone for their support and kind messages."