Hospice at Home launches appeal after items stolen during charity collection at Morrisons Leighton Buzzard

The Hospice at Home volunteers before they discovered that the items had been stolen.
The Hospice at Home volunteers before they discovered that the items had been stolen.

A Leighton-Linslade charity is appealing for the public's help after its volunteers had belongings stolen whilst collecting outside Morrisons.

Team members of Hospice at Home, which provides support to families living with a terminal or life limiting illness, had a box of equipment and merchandise stolen, as well as a bag and waterproof jacket.

The items were taken during a donation campaign yesterday (April 23) when the volunteers were standing only a metre away from their belongings.

Promotions and fundraising organiser, Sophie Hill, said: "We booked to do a charity event, which we have done before on many occasions and never had a problem.

"I arrived just before 8am and had a cardboard box with some stickers, leaflets, scissors, tape, branded stickers and balloons. My colleague Mary also had a hessian bag with a waterproof jacket inside.

"There was a big 8ft metal Morrisons sign advertising something, and we tucked them just behind there. We were only one metre in front of it.

"At 10am Mary's shift ended and she noticed her bag and jacket had gone. She didn't know about the box but when I arrived back after lunch at midday I noticed it had completely gone, too."

Sophie added: "They are not high value items but we are a not for profit charity, so the money means more than it seems. We don't turn over a lot and rely on donations and sponsorship from the public and local businesses.

"We've got May Day and the carnival coming up and we are trying to get the leaflets reprinted and replace the other items.

"Everyone was really friendly when we were collecting, stopping for a chat, and the collection went well.

"It seems we've been let down by one person."

Sophie and the volunteers would also like to thank the staff at Morrisons for going "above and beyond" to help them when they reported the missing items.

Every member of staff was spoken to to see if they had seen anything, and Hospice at Home have also been invited back to the supermarket to hold another collection drive.

Sophie added: "One lady at Morrisons was devastated, having given us the opportunity, but I can't thank them enough for all their help."

Hospice at Home is a Leighton-Linslade charity, which has been running since 1995, providing social, emotional and practical support to families and carers.

Volunteers give up their time to befriend those with life-limiting or terminal illnesses, and the help has been "life-changing" for families.

If you know any information about the stolen items, please call Hospice at Home on: 01525 854 713.

To find out more about the charity, visit: http://hospiceathomevolunteers.org.uk/

A Bedfordshire Police spokeswoman, said: "We have received a report of theft outside Morrisons in Leighton Buzzard yesterday (Tuesday) at some point between 8.30am and 10am. A number of items were taken from a charity who were fundraising in the area, including balloons, charity literature, scissors, stationery stickers and a bag.

"Anyone with any information is asked to call 101 and quote reference number 40/23226/19."