Heartless burglars steal Christmas meal cash from South Shields retirement home - as comedian Chris Ramsey donates to fundraising appeal
A burglary has shocked South Shields residents living in a sheltered housing complex as money they had raised for a Christmas meal was stolen.
But a Just Giving appeal has already raised more than Â£200 to go towards giving the residents at St Mary's Court, in South Eldon Street, the Christmas they deserve.
Residents at the sheltered living accommodation scheme for over 55s, were left devastated after a burglary saw a quantity of money stolen from the South Shields home including the funds they had raised for their annual Christmas meal.
Tahnee Bedford set up the Just Giving appeal after hearing from her family members who live at St Mary's about what had happened.
"I was absolutely disgusted when I heard what happened,” said the 28-year-old.
"They should be living their golden years stress free, it's a terrible thing that's happened.
"But for one bad person there's so many kind people that want to help.
Tahnee, who lives in South Shields, originally set a 'realistic target' of Â£200 but has been overwhelmed by the response from the community.
And in just three days her original target has been surpassed.
Comedian Chris Ramsey is among the members of the public who shown their support and donated to the cause.
He tweeted: "Some rank people out there. I’ve donated. Hope they have a lovely Christmas. Get the locks changed!
"I think it's fantastic that Chris Ramsey has donated and shared the appeal, he was recently involved in a mother's meeting and socialised with our playgroup.
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"We're so grateful for all of the donations, we are overwhelmed with the support received."
Tahnee set an estimate of Â£200 to go towards funds for the Christmas tree and their festive dinner but doesn't know how much was stolen.
The residents at St Mary's Court spend all year raising funds for the special occasion by hosing coffee mornings and fetes.
Not only was all of the funds raised for the Christmas meal stolen but money was taken from individuals who live there.
John Oxborough, district manager for St Mary’s Court, said: “We were upset to hear items had been stolen from some tenants’ flats following a break-in and we are supporting them during this difficult time.
“All the locks have now been changed, and we employed security guards up until we were satisfied the property was fully secure again. We are working with police during their investigation. The well-being of our tenants is paramount.
“We have a great community at St Mary’s Court and everyone has rallied round to support each other.”
A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “At 4.42pm on Friday, November 16, police received a report of a burglary at Saint Mary’s Court, South Shields.
“A quantity of money was stolen from the property earlier that afternoon. Inquiries are ongoing to trace those involved.
“Anyone with information is asked to contact 101 quoting reference 802 161118 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
To donate to the Just Giving page click here.