Trees of Remembrance fundraising stall hit by cruel theft
An Alice House Hospice fundraising stall has been hit by crime on its first day of festive trading.
The Trees of Remembrance stall in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, where people can place a bauble and a tribute message to a lost loved one on a Christmas tree whilst making a small donation, opened on Tuesday 21 November. The stall is staffed entirely by volunteers donating their time and will run up until the week before Christmas.
"We won’t let something like this deter us from our priority, which in this case is to generate money to provide support to our patients."
Julie Hildreth, Senior Fundraising Manager
After a successful opening day the stall was closed and a £15 float left locked away in a trunk. Unfortunately, sometime between the stall closing at 5pm and the centre closing at 6pm, the trunk was broken into and damaged and the float stolen.
This has caused concern as it is the first time that this has ever happened. It was also distressing for the volunteers who discovered the damage the following morning. Centre Security Staff and Police have both been informed.
Senior Fundraising Manager, Julie Hildreth said of the incident “It is sad that someone would target our stall in this way, the Trees of Remembrance have been a long standing tradition and it is worrying that someone would see it as an opportunity to steal money that would be used to fund the care services that we deliver to people and families living with life limiting illnesses.
“We would however like to say thank you to everyone for the messages of support and kind donations that we have received since the incident. We won’t let something like this deter us from our priority, which in this case is to generate money to provide support to our patients.”
Anyone wishing to take part and make a donation can visit the stall in Middleton Grange, which is positioned outside Specsavers, who also sponsor the stall. Individual trees are also sponsored by Clarks, Darlington Building Society, Twenty3 Taxis, F. Shotton and W.A. Smith Insurance.
Since the incident, no money will be kept on the stall overnight.