Thieves won’t stop us, say hospice workers

Steve Hatfield a Bluebell Wood driver with his van
Steve Hatfield a Bluebell Wood driver with his van
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BLUEBELL Wood Children’s Hospice, hit by heartless thieves, is refusing to let the thefts hurt its work and has appealed for South Yorkshire’s generous donors to carry on supporting its cause.

The hospice, which cares for some of the sickest children in South Yorkshire, received a massive knock last month when it discovered callous criminals had stolen an estimated £9,500 worth of charity bags left outside donors’ homes.

The North Anston institution relies on the £820,000 its seven charity shops generate each year. Many of the goods the shops sell come from items left outside people’s houses in plastic donation bags.

But in October the charity discovered many of the bags, which contain an average £15-£19 worth of items each, were being stolen before the charity’s drivers were able to pick them up.

Now the charity is relaunching its collections service and establishing secure drop-off centres where donors can take bags without the worry of them being pinched.

Bluebell Wood will continue house-to-house collections, but is also trying to establish a network of centres in businesses and public places where people can leave their donations.

A new collection point at Gala Bingo, Wadsley Bridge, Sheffield, has already collected 70 bags.Bluebell Wood is trying to establish more drop-off points.

Sarah Champion, chief executive of Bluebell Wood, said: “We’re thrilled the local community has once again rallied round to help Bluebell Wood after the theft of our collection bags.

“We’re constantly amazed by the generosity of the public in their efforts to help the hospice, and would like to thank everyone at Gala Bingo and elsewhere that have donated bags to us following our appeal.

“With support from the public, and companies like Gala Bingo, we can ensure that in the future all bags donated by supporters continue to help children and young adults with a shortened life expectancy to enjoy a lifetime of love and laughter.”

Hospice marketing manager Madeleine Oldale said: “We have had a brilliant response since we discovered the thefts. Lots of people have been popping into the hospice with bags of donations, rather than leaving them outside their homes.

“We are trying to establish more secure drop-off points. If public facilities, community centres or businesses can help, we would absolutely love it if they were to get in touch.”

n To help Bluebell Wood by acting as a drop-off centre for donations, call retail manager Heidi Megaughin on 01909 517 360.