A fundraising drive set up following the callous theft of Christmas presents meant for critically ill children in St Mary’s Hospital has smashed its £3,000 target.
Nearly £20,000 has been raised for COSMIC (Children of St Mary’s Intensive Care) to spend on its Christmas party and Candlelight Carol Concert - with nearly all of that amount coming in since Monday (November 29) morning.
The charity looks after helps and supports children in intensive care and their families.
Vicky Rees, head of communications and fundraising at the charity, said: “We’re shocked.
"This is amazing. It’s not what we were expecting. We’re overwhelmed by the support we’ve had. It’s absolutely fantastic.”
The break-in happened between October 3 and November 18, and had threatened to hamper the charity’s preparation for Christmas events .
Around 150 presents, festive decorations and equipment, totalling £3,000, were swiped from the hospital between October 3 and November 17.
They were being stored at an unused ward which the charity is aiming to transform into accommodation for families of critically ill children
The theft was reported to police on November 22 and the crowdfunding page launched on Friday (November 25).
Among the items taken were Christmas decorations, LED lights used for the candlelight concert and a Santa suit.
Speaking before the generous donations from the public, Ms Rees had appealed for help from "Christmas elves".
She wrote: “Our children and families have been through so much, but being able to bring a little Christmas cheer is the highlight of our year.
“Having our ability to make that magic happen taken away is devastating.
"We will do our best to replenish everything but if there are any Christmas Elves out there who would like to help please just visit our donation page.”
But speaking as the amount raised reached £19,716, she told getwestlondon : “Last week it was very gutting when we saw everything taken.
"Now we are over the moon, it’s such a difference.”
And she added the kids and families the charity look after can look forward to a special festive season: “We’re going to be able to do more this year.
"It’s going to make Christmas so much better.”
Police from Westminster are investigating the theft.
Anyone with information can contact police on 101 or on Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
COSMIC’s Carols by Candlelight Concert takes place on December 5 at St Matthew’s Church in Bayswater. Tickets are available from here .
Its kids’ Christmas party is on December 11.
To view the COSMIC crowdfunding page click here .
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