Rod Stewart donates £10,000 to model railway club after 'devastating' vandalism

Tom Beasley
Rod Stewart at ST Patrick's Thursday at Cheltenham Racecourse for The Festival 2019. (Photo by MelMedia/GC Images)

Legendary rocker Rod Stewart has donated £10,000 to a model railway club after a planned exhibition was destroyed in an apparent act of vandalism.

The Maggie May singer, who is a model train enthusiast himself, said he was “devastated” when he heard about what had happened to the Market Deeping Model Railway Club’s annual show.

He urged fellow celebrity fans to dip into their own pockets and help the club out.

Vandals are believed to have damaged a number of immensely valuable items that had been assembled ahead of the exhibition.

Club secretary Brian Norris wrote on a JustGiving page set up to raise donations that “a scene of absolute devastation” had been left at the site of the exhibition in Stamford, Lincolnshire.

Market Deeping Model Railway Club representatives said a "scene of absolute devastation" greeted them at their annual exhibition. (Credit: Market Deeping Model Railway Club/JustGiving)

He said: “Some of the models on display are irreplaceable and whilst money cannot possibly replace the hours of painstaking effort that has been so wantonly destroyed, we would ask that you make a donation, no matter how small, to help us get back on our feet.”

Club chairman Peter Davies told the BBC that “a hurricane would have done less damage”.

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Stewart is known to be a big fan of model railways, having spent more than two decades assembling his own.

He is said to own a rare model of New York's Grand Central Station, complete with talking conductors and air-conditioned skyscrapers.

The 74-year-old singer said in a statement that he was “absolutely devastated” when he heard about the damage to the exhibition.

He added: “The collection was priceless and I am donating £10,000 to help compensate those affected and asking fellow enthusiasts Jools Holland, Roger Daltrey and others to do the same.

“It took me 23 years to build my model railway so I feel their pain.”

Rod Stewart performs on day four of the Isle of Wight Festival 2017, at Seaclose Park, Isle of Wight. (Credit: PA)

Four youths were arrested on suspicion of burglary and criminal damage in connection with the incident.

They have since been released on conditional bail by Lincolnshire Police, pending further enquiries.

The JustGiving page, which was originally aiming to raise £500, has now attracted just shy of £60,000 from supporters.

Read more: Stewart admits he has never cooked a meal

Stewart, who was at the height of his music fame in the 1970s and 80s, has sold more than 10 million albums globally over the course of his entertainment career.

His biggest hits include Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? and Sailing.