WE have to carry on, that is the way staff and volunteers have sprung into action following the devastating fire which destroyed much of the Dawlish Community Transport’s fleet.

Manager Sally Preston said: ‘The community spirit is invaluable to us.

‘We are not giving in.

‘The whole community relies on this on all levels.'

Friday’s arson attack has left the charity with just two cars and two minibuses of its fleet of nine vehicles. 

Police have confirmed it is arson and are investigating.

And a Go Fund Me fundraiser has collected almost £5,000. 

But the charity has been sent a lifeline by partner charities and companies.

Newton Abbot Community Transport has helped by lending some of its own vehicles.

Sally said GM Coachworks and Courtside Conversions in Tiverton had also come up trumps to offer help.

She said: ‘They have stepped in and vetted out buses, checked for safety to make sure they are fit for purpose.

‘Cofton Motors have been amazing, coming to salvage what could be saved and craning out the the other vehicles.’

It has been revealed that the fire spread to other vehicles when fuel and oil spilled out and, as the car park is on a slope, ran down to set light to other vehicles.

The loss of the vehicles alone runs to £280,000.

One of the mini buses was only two years old and had cost £80,000.

Sally said: ‘People have been amazing, it is so humbling.

Praising the emergency services, Sally said the response from all the agencies including the Environment Agency and Teignbridge Council who came in to clear the debris.

Insurance assessors have been helping the charity but Sally and her staff are still facing a mountain of paperwork. 

She has thanked everyone who has stepped up in the wake of the huge fire.

But said there was a lot of ‘anger’ and ‘frustration’ in the community.

One of the service users had been in tears following the news.

Despite the attack, within days, the charity had managed to ensure a group of children from Westcliff School enjoyed an end of term trip to the zoo.

And Sally had also made sure several clients were provided with transport to medical appointments.