A SHOCKED community is rallying round to help a preschool which was destroyed in a huge blaze rise from the ashes.

Bluehouse Farm Community Centre, in Laindon Link, Laindon, was gutted in the inferno on Sunday afternoon – leaving Busy Bees Pre-school without a home.

The pre-school, which has been at the community centre for more than 40 years, has been inundated with support and generous offers of toys, books and equipment.

Parents of the 70 children who attend have been visiting shops asking for donations and some have even cleared their spare bedrooms to create storage space.

Offers from members of the public have also flooded in via the Basildon Memories Facebook page.

Busy Bees manager Donna Surridge said: “I can’t believe howmuch support we have had.

“I think it’s because we are such a big part of the community and have been for such a long time.

“The priority at the moment is finding a hall, but we also need loads of other bits like tables and chairs, potties, plates and cups.

There is so much you don’t even think about.

“We have been left with nothing.”

Staff are frantically looking for a new base for the pre-school.

Mrs Surridge said: “Luckily enough for us, it is the half-term school holidays this week so no one has been put out, but we need to find a temporary hall as soon as possible.

“A lot of the children live nearby and they were hysterical and screaming when they saw the centre go up in flames.We need to get up and running as soon as possible to show them we are all all right.”

Anyone who wants to make a donation to Busy Bees can call Mrs Surridge on 07702 063013.