THE Jive Aces had a dramatic end to their successful charity gig in Shoreham on Sunday, September 29, when they spotted an arson attack.
Members of the band were heading through the grounds of St Mary’s Church when they spotted flames by the west door.
Pianist Vince Hurley realised it was a pile of newspaper burning in the doorway and immediately stamped out the flames.
Police later confirmed the small blaze was one of a series of arson attacks in the town centre over the weekend.
Jive Aces singer Ian Clarkson said: “We went through the churchyard to get something to eat and the piano player noticed that there was newspaper rolled up and stuck in the door, and flames were coming out of the door.
“He pulled it back and stamped on it then called the police.”
He said the band, who all live in Sussex, had since learned the history of the church, including its links with William the Conqueror.
The Rev Ann Waizeneker said there had been no real damage done.
“There was only a bit of burned newspaper, nothing significant, thank goodness,” she added.
“I just feel really sorry for the person who did it. It is very sad really.”
Police are appealing for witnesses after the series of small fires.
Piles of newspaper were also used to start fires in a wheelie bin outside Shoreham Library on Saturday and later by the back door of Shoreham Health Centrem.
PC Chris Bartram said: “Although there was very little damage caused in these incidents, they had the potential to cause huge disruption in the area.
“All of the fires were started in the evenings and I am keen to speak to anyone who might have seen them being set or people running away from the medical centre or St Mary’s Church.”
A 17-year-old girl from Bognor has been arrested and questioned on suspicion of arson. She has been released on bail until November 14, while officers carry out further inquiries.
Anyone with information should call 101 quoting serial 1670 of 29 September or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
n Turn to page 29 for a picture special on charity gig featuring The Jive Aces.