Devastation as heartless thief steals Christmas donations from Peterborough hospice which cares for dying patients

Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice reception
Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice reception

A heartless thief stole a donation box on Christmas Day from Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice which cares for dying patients.

The thief took the box from the hospice’s reception at 5.30am on Christmas morning, depriving the charity of money to care for people suffering from conditions such as cancer, heart failure or lung disease, as well as their family and friends.

The theft took place as the hospice in Longthorpe opened its doors for a family which wanted to pay its final respects to a patient who had just passed away.

Staff at the hospice have now written an open letter to the thief where they state: “It’s not just the financial loss which has devastated our team here. There’s been a huge emotional impact too.

“Do you know why our doors were unlocked at 5.30am on Christmas Day? So the family of a patient who had just died could come in and say their final goodbyes.”

The defiant letter ends: “It saddens us that you felt driven to do what you did.

“But thankfully because of the generosity of local people, groups and businesses we’ll still be here to provide care for people when they need it.

“Obviously we hope you never need us but we’ll be here for you too if you do.”

It is not known how much money was in the donation box.

The theft was only discovered after Christmas Day.

Anyone with information can call police on 101, quoting crime reference number CF0745651217 from December 27.

The Open Letter

To the person who took the donation box from Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice.

We don’t know what drove you to steal from a charity or why you need the money. But we want you to know the money you took was given to us so we can provide care and support to people who are dying from conditions like cancer, heart failure or lung disease - and their family and friends.

The box you stole contained money which the families and friends of patients had generously donated to say thank you for the care their loved ones received; money which was meant to help fund the care we give to patients at the most difficult time of their lives.

At Christmas people often feel compelled to give more to charities like us. Which means there was more for you to take. And more for us to lose.

It’s not just the financial loss which has devastated our team here. There’s been a huge emotional impact too. Do you know why our doors were unlocked at 5.30am on Christmas Day? So the family of a patient who had just died could come in and say their final goodbyes.

We didn’t let your crime affect our Christmas Day. Santa still visited, the Salvation Army band played carols and we served a turkey dinner to patients and their families.

It’s a privilege for us to be able to give people those festive memories to treasure. And it’s only possible for us to provide that care because of the money people donate to us – the money that you stole.

We just wanted to let you know all this. It saddens us that you felt driven to do what you did.

But thankfully because of the generosity of local people, groups and businesses we’ll still be here to provide care for people when they need it. Obviously we hope you never need us but we’ll be here for you too if you do.

Thanks for reading

Hospice director Allison Mann and the Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice team