AN army of parents have helped a primary school bounce back after thieves broke in and stole the caretaker's van.

Staff at Park Lane Primary School in Tilehurst were left 'devastated' after the incident, which happened late on February 27.

They stole a white Ford Transit custom van, along with valuable tools, setting the school back thousands of pounds.

When a group of parents heard about the heartbreaking news, they started a fundraising page and it has so far raised £2,200.

Two of the parents, Alice and Amy, said: “At first we thought maybe we would raise a few hundred pounds, just to give the school a bit of a boost.

"But as time went on, the page was shared so many times and people just continued to give.

"Parents here really do love the school, and appreciate how hard everyone works to give our children a great education.

"We started the page on the Friday and, by Saturday, we realised we were probably going to be able to pay for all of the insurance excess.”

Even though the school was insured, it was clear it would struggle to pay the £2,000 insurance excess.

All of the funds raised will go directly to the school and help them to recover from this terrible ordeal.

Nicola Browne, head teacher at Park Lane, added: “We were so shocked to discover the break-in.

It was heartbreaking, really, to think that, with school budgets so tight, we were going to have to take vital funds out of education projects.

But, from the start, we were determined not to let the thieves’ actions affect the children.”

Donations have come from far and wide, not just from parents, but also from members of the local community and former students, too.

Mrs Browne added: “We can’t believe just how much money has been raised by the school community in such a short space of time.

“It’s been so inspiring to watch everyone coming together and it really has reminded all of us how special this community is.

"It’s a brilliant boost and we appreciate everyone who has supported us at this time.”

Visit: to donate to the online fundraising page.