Generous donations to charities targeted by criminals over Christmas

Sue Ryder director Allison Mann receives a cheque from Zesham Ahmed, Dr Muhammad Nawaz, Muhammad Younas, secretary, Zahid Akbar and Abdul Choudhuri, chairman, of Faizan-e-Medinah mosque to replace stolen cash from the hospice. EMN-180201-173705009
Sue Ryder director Allison Mann receives a cheque from Zesham Ahmed, Dr Muhammad Nawaz, Muhammad Younas, secretary, Zahid Akbar and Abdul Choudhuri, chairman, of Faizan-e-Medinah mosque to replace stolen cash from the hospice. EMN-180201-173705009

Two of Peterborough’s best loved charities have been left reeling after thefts and break-ins.

A collection box was stolen from Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice’s reception at 5.30am on Christmas Day, while vandals broke into disabled children’s charity Litte Miracles’ Spinney base on New Year’s Eve, throwing paint around the grounds and stealing a lawnmower.

Tracey Emerson, Emma Andres, Emily Sibthorpe with Oliver, Amelia and Imogen King at Little Miracles

Tracey Emerson, Emma Andres, Emily Sibthorpe with Oliver, Amelia and Imogen King at Little Miracles

However, despite staff at both charities being left devastated by the crimes, they have been overwhelmed with offers of help and support from across the city.

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

It is thought around £250 was in the collection box, which would have been used to provide vital medical care.

Hospice director Allison Mann said: “We know we have a lot of support in the community, but to see the messages of support and offers of help particularly on social media and from people who have actually come to the hospice to give us money has been incredibly heartwarming.

“Thorney Lakes Golf Club held an impromptu collection during a New Year competition, a man has pledged to do a skydive and we had a donation from a lady in New Zealand who read the story on Facebook and felt moved to support us.”

A generous donation of £500 was also made from the Faizan e Madinah Mosque in Gladstone Street, which doubled the estimated amount that was stolen.

Mosque chairman Abdul Choudhuri said: “It was indeed very sad and we were heartbroken to discover that some heartless person has stolen money from a charity box over the Christmas period from Sue Ryder Hospice, an organisation which provides excellent service to terminally ill people - mainly cancer patients - and mainly depends on the generous donations from the public.

“We at Faizan e Madinah had a similar experience a few weeks ago when the same kind of person stole a charity box which was for poor and needy people to assist them with the funeral cost of their loved ones. Sadly that person is still at large.”

The break in at The Spinney in Hartwell Way, Westwood, is thought to have happened at about 2am on December 31.

Michelle King, chief executive of Little Miracles - which provides care and support for children with disabilities and additional needs, as well as the youngsters’ families - said she was expecting repairs to cost the charity a lot of money.

She said: “Paint was thrown all over the floor, a petrol lawnmower was stolen, and the shed was broken into. We have had to close our garden to make sure it is safe for the children to play in.

“It is a big mess, and the equipment means a lot to us.

“We are still adding up the cost, but we are not expecting it to be cheap.”

Volunteer Emily Sibthorpe said: “Lots of people have offered help and support. Businesses have been in touch, and Queensgate have been down to help us. Law firm Taylor Rose have also given us a £5,000 donation after they heard what happened.

“Our Facebook page has been inundated with offers of help and support.”

Taylor Rose are also the sponsors of the Little Miracles Winter Ball, taking place on January 13.

Anyone with information about either the theft from Thorpe Hall or the break in at Little Miracles should call Cambridgeshire police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
For details about the ball email Catherine.rickett@taylor-rose.co.uk or emily.sibthorpe@littlemiraclescharity.org.uk