Sussex

'Annie dog' killed in Sussex arson attack

Rehearsals for Annie Image copyright Seaford Musical Theatre
Image caption The cast had been eight weeks into rehearsals when Spirit died

The cast of an amateur production of Annie has been left "devastated" after the death of the dog they rehearsed with in a suspected arson attack.

Spirit had the canine role of Sandy in Seaford Musical Theatre's production of Annie and the Orphans.

The dog died in the house fire in Cissbury Avenue in Peacehaven, Sussex, on Monday.

The show's director, Tony Betts, said a collection would be taken at each performance for Spirit's owner.

Angela Simmons was not at home at the time of the fire, Sussex Police said.

Mr Betts said: "We will be holding a collection at the end of each performance to donate to Spirit's owner who has lost not only her home and possessions but her best friend too.

"It won't make up for her loss, but we hope it will help with any immediate needs she may have.

"Spirit's understudy, Hector, will take her place in the show, but Spirit will always be in our hearts."

The show at the Barn Theatre in Seaford runs between 22 and 24 September and between 29 September and 1 October.

Paula Woolven, from the theatre company, said: "Spirit, a sandy coloured lurcher, had been rehearsing with Annie and the Orphans for the past eight weeks and the children in the cast are devastated with the loss of their friendly cast mate."

A 20-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of arson following the house fire which broke out at about 19:50 BST on Monday.

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