A Sandown charity fundraiser has spoken of her ‘disbelief’ after two teenage girls stole items from a donating table she had set up outside her home and then attempted to set light to them.
Sarah Tyrell is the local community fundraiser for Breast Cancer Now and has been collecting for the charity since 2018. When she first started volunteering, she hoped to raise £500, but, three years later, she has managed £14,000.
Sarah, who owns TJJ Cleaning, Laundry and Waste Collection Services, explained: “Since Covid first struck over a year ago, I have had to change the way I fundraise from very social events to social distancing donations.
“Fundraising is really difficult in the current climate, so I regularly set up a Breast Cancer Now table outside my house and rely on our amazing community for donations.
“I usually place charity pots attached to the table with various items and leaflet information, so people can just pick something and make a donation. Alternatively, they can leave their own items there to be sold on for the charity.
“However, one day recently, our neighbours alerted us and said two young girls had pinched a lot of my donations of teddies and soft toys and run off with them. We managed to find the girls and ask them why, but we were met with awful language and laughter whilst they used a lighter to set fire to the soft toys – and ran off again.
“I was so upset and cross, and I just felt an incredible sense of genuine disbelief. Thankfully, our wonderful local community rallied round when they heard what had happened.
“The next morning, I had boxes of donated items, as well as a new table and storage boxes. There was even a £65 donation from America, as my post had been shared and seen over there.
“I’d just like to say to the girls: ‘Spend a week volunteering and fundraising – and then you might appreciate how vital these funds are for the charity, and how important it is to so many people’.”