THE hunt is on for an arsonist who is believed to have deliberately set fire to a hall used by Harbord Scouts, putting their Christmas fundraiser in doubt.
In what is believed to be an attack by an individual on Sunday, the back shed of the Sue and Ralph Ranger Scout Hall was set alight.
It means Joeys, Cubs, Scouts and Venturers who use the hall could have to use their annual fundraiser to repair the site.
The 1st/2nd Harbord Scout’s Christmas tree sale is scheduled for December 8 and usually funds canoes, abseiling gear, tents or camping equipment for the children to use.
Harbord Scouts’ Parent Committee chairman Peter Irvin arrived shortly after the fire.
“Somebody lit up the shed, which was full of plastic chairs and that’s what caused the hall to catch fire,” he said. “If you look closely, the timber is cracked and it was just about to spark up, but thankfully the police were nearby and called the fireys. “If they didn’t, we would’ve lost our 50 or 60 year old hall.”
Knowing funds raised by the group would go towards fixing the damage rather than gear was the most disappointing thing about the matter, Mr Irvin said.
“We’ve raised a lot of money in the past to help maintain our hall because it’s a community hall where people have art classes, attend yoga, martial arts and there’s even a chess club,” he said. “We have a lot of kids birthday parties here too … and Harbord Scouts is a place where kids can get involved in a range of activities.
“There is something for everyone — from the sportiest kids to children who have trouble with socialisation or are a bit quiet.
“Everyone is welcome.”
The attack comes just six months after the renaming of the Sue and Ralph Ranger Scout Hall — formerly known as the Harbord Scout Hall.
It was named after two long-term leaders of the group to highlight the efforts of the husband and wife, who joined in 1985.
“I’ve always felt that scouts is there for kids and, that it, hopefully provides them with an environment they enjoy and can turn to before they get themselves in a situation like the one that’s just happened,” Mr Irvin said. “It builds confidence and community spirit, and it’s sad to think a person had to do this, for whatever the reason.”
To support the Harbord Scout Group by buying a Christmas tree during their sale, visit the Northern Beaches Secondary College Freshwater Campus car park from 7am on December 8 or trybooking.com/ZCDD.
›› If you have information call Northern Beaches
Police on 9976 8099.
‘‘It builds confidence and community spirit, and it’s sad to think a person had to do this
Harbord Scouts’ Peter Irvin"
Louise Starkey, Manly Daily, 21 Nov18 Page13