The hospital charity which helps critically ill young patients and their families has spoken of its “devastation” after gifts it intended to give to children this Christmas were stolen.
Around 150 presents, festive decorations and equipment, totalling £3,000, were swiped from a storage room at St Mary’s Hospital used by COSMIC (Children of St Mary’s Intensive Care).
The break-in happened between October 3 and November 18, and has badly hampered the charity’s preparation for Christmas events.
An urgent crowdfunding appeal has now been launched to help raise the money to bring some joy to sick kids who will spend the festive season at the Paddington hospital.
Each year the charity organises a Children’s Christmas party where gifts are given to patients and their families. Its Carols by Candlelight Concert preparations have also been rocked as loot taken includes all the LED lights required.
Other items swiped include COSMIC’s Father Christmas suit.
The toys and equipment were being stored on an unused ward at St Mary’s Hospital which the charity is aiming to transform into accommodation for families of critically ill children.
Tina Halton, Lead Play Specialist St Mary’s said: “I was so sad when I heard that we may not have Santa this year.
“Everything we use at Christmas time is given to us and donated out of kindness for the children who so deserve to have a little fun at this time of year.
“Santa has always worn the same suit at our children’s party and for a jolly visit to the wards on Christmas day. It never fails to bring a smile to a poorly child’s face when they get a chance to meet the real Mr Clause and get a specially selected gift.”
The crowdfunding site was launched on Saturday (November 26) and has already raised more than £1,000 towards its £3,000 target. Ms Halton added: “We have been truly heartened by all the people who have already expressed their support and want to help make sure the kids have a Christmas we can remember for all of the right reasons.”
Vicky Rees, head of fundraising and communications at COSMIC added: “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.”
Police are investigating. Detective Sergeant Tom Hirst, from Westminster CID , said: “This is an awful crime at this time of year and heard to imagine what kind of person would steal gifts so clearly destined for sick children to make their lives a little brighter this festive season.”
Anyone with information can contact police via 101 or on Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The Carols by Candlelight concert takes place on December 5 at St Matthew’s Church in Bayswater. Tickets are available here .
The annual Children’s Christmas party takes place on December 11.
To give money to the Crowdfunding page click here .
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