Julia’s House received an astonishing £5,000 in donations following the theft of Christmas lights from outside its children’s hospice in Corfe Mullen.
Thieves stole ground lights from the entrance and took an electrical connection box after slashing through cable, wrecking a display of tree lights.
As the news of the theft spread, donations started coming by hand, over the phone, via the Julia’s House website and through a JustGiving page set up by supporter Steve Mullins on the charity’s Facebook page.
The largest single amount was an anonymous donation of £1,000. Another £100 came in from AFC Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter who said: “I know how much Christmas means to kids, so to see someone do such a horrible thing and me being in a position where I felt I could make a difference I thought it would be nice, especially at Christmas.”
Hospice staff were especially touched by the kindness of passers-by. One man came to the door and handed over £100 in cash – money that had been intended for repairs to his car. He told nurses: “The children need this more than I need to use my car. The car can wait.”
There were many individual donations of household Christmas lights as well as a bulk delivery from B&Q in Weymouth. One lady even pitched up with cakes for the care team.
More lights and equipment were donated by local companies AEC Electrical and Kew Electrical. A team from AEC Electrics replaced the cabling and junction box and put up the new lights in time for a special weekend care session.
Hospice lead nurse Louise McKenna said: “The response has been truly fantastic. The overwhelming kindness of people with all the donations and messages of support has really lifted the spirits of everyone at the hospice. We can’t thank people enough for supporting us in this special way. The new lights look wonderful.”