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A village Post Office has rallied its local community together after a thief stole a charity donation tin from its counter.
The Ashgate Hospice tin, which was full and had a year’s worth of change inside, was stolen from Morton Post Office, near Alfreton, on Thursday 13 July.
In response, the owner Victoria Rawson started a fundraiser to make up for the lost money in the hope of “turning something awful into a positive”.
The fundraiser raised about £130 in a week to help fund the hospice’s palliative and end of life care for patients and their families.
Victoria, who runs the Post Office, shop and café with her mum Diane Edwards, said they had been “overwhelmed by the community’s generosity”.
She said: “I was working on a Thursday and some guy just walked in and then straight out; shortly after we noticed the tin had gone.
“We went into a mad panic when we realised it wasn’t there – it was so upsetting. We’ve ran the Post Office here for about 16 years now and it’s the first time anything like this has happened.
“You feel so violated and it just hit us so personally – it really did affect me.
“Because it’s such a small village and close-knit community things like this don’t happen every day, so it upsets people even more. It’s just such a horrible thing to do.”
Victoria reported the theft to Derbyshire Police, but says the force told her it would be unable to catch the thief.
The suspected thief was not in view of CCTV cameras that have been installed inside the business, she added.
However, the hospice says a full donation tin typically has about £25 to £30 inside, so the fundraiser quadrupled the amount that would likely have originally been donated.
Victoria, from Chesterfield, added: “We put a notice on the counter to say we were really upset the tin had been stolen so we wanted to raise a bit so the hospice didn’t go without.
“People started coming in and giving us £5 or £10, which is just amazing. We have been overwhelmed by people’s kindness.
“Everyone has been coming in and telling us stories about how important the hospice is to them. It’s been so lovely.
“We just wanted to turn something awful into a positive and we’re delighted to have made such a big donation to the hospice.”
The hospice’s Community Relationship Fundraiser, Adele Taylor, visited the Post Office a couple of weeks after the theft to collect the total donation of £128.45.
She said: “We were so overwhelmed when we heard Morton Post Office’s story. To turn something negative into such a positive is just absolutely fantastic.
“We’re so grateful to Victoria, Diane and the whole of the Morton community who came together to make a donation to the fundraiser.
“We rely on communities like Morton and businesses like the Post Office in order to be able to raise the £9 million we need each year to fund our care for families across North Derbyshire.”
Last year, the hospice collected 744 donation tins across North Derbyshire and a total of £38,937 was raised from their proceeds.
Anyone who is interested in placing a donation tin in their shop or business is urged to contact the hospice’s Community Fundraising team on 01246 567250 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Head to the hospice’s website to find out more about how you help Ashgate Hospice raise funds for its care.