STAFF at the Joseph Weld Hospice in Dorchester have been ‘humbled’ by the amount of goods donated since a blaze gripped a skip on the Weldmar Hospicecare Trust site.

The skip stood next to a container which held bric-a-brac, books, cuddly toys and other stock, all due to be sold at Weldmar’s annual fundraiser on Saturday and which were destroyed.

After an appeal for goods, hospice staff have been inundated by donations and offers of help.

Weldmar director of fundraising Caroline Nickinson said: “We have been completely bowled over by the amount of donations.

“One mindless person destroyed all of those goods but the community have put it right with their generosity.

“Hundreds of people have been ringing up to offer their help to us to get ready for the fete and popping in to donate goods.

“All of our hospice staff have been really humbled by the community response. We just want to say a big thank you to everyone.”

Scores of people selling goods at the weekly Dorchester car boot sale flocked to the hospice after hearing of the blaze to donate the rest of their stock.

Fiona Wisher, 52, of Crossways , said: “A person came round the car boot with a note appealing for donations.

“We stopped our sale and took half a car load to the hospice and many others did the same.

“Everyone knows how vital Weldmar is – it is a fantastic service.”

Weymouth FC encouraged fans to donate any unwanted items before their match against Totton and Eling yesterday.

A spokesman for the Terras and the supporters’ association said: “We were very concerned to hear about the alleged arson attack.

“The board organised for Weldmar to have their van at the Bob Lucas Stadium to enable any of our fans or members of the public to donate any unwanted items.

“We would like to wish the trust the very best of luck for their fete and thank everyone for their support.”

Shaun Hennessy, who is a director of the Terras and owns Blondz in Weymouth and Dorchester, is also collecting items for the hospice at both of his hair salons.

The fete, which is Weldmar’s largest fundraising venture, will be held on Saturday from 11am to 4pm at the hospice in Herringston Road, Dorchester.

To help call 01305 261800.

Suspect bailed

WELDMAR staff called the police after seeing a figure outside the property in the early hours of Saturday.

Dorset Police have confirmed a man has been arrested and released on bail in connection with the incident.

A Dorset Police spokesman said: “We received a call at 1.25am on Saturday to say there was a suspicious man.

“Officers arrived and were searching the area at 1.29am.

“They found a skip on fire between the two hospitals.”