WHEN thieves stole a flatscreen television and a DVD player from a cancer ward at Essex County Hospital, some may have lost faith in humanity.

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But it was restored with interest yesterday when it emerged a generous Essex couple - inspired by seeing the story in the EADT - had lead an online campaign to replace the stolen items.

Darryl Stanley and his girlfriend Sacha Allen, whose relative died at the hospital over the summer, had £280 pledged in just two hours after launching the fundraising drive on Twitter on Sunday night.

But when they phoned the hospital yesterday to tell them of the money raised, they were told the East of England Co-operative Society had already stepped in to buy some replacements.

Mr Stanley, of Canterbury Road, Colchester, said he and Ms Allen would carry on fundraising and hand the money over to the hospital’s general funds.

Mr Stanley, 32, said he was delighted by the reaction from Twitter.

He added: “In terms of hardship and everyone scrambling for money it’s been a really warm response and very humbling.

“The campaign came after the article in the EADT and it’s been taken on by my girlfriend Sacha, who wanted to use Twitter to support the ward and see if we could do anything. Hearing about this robbery was very raw for her and she thought it was despicable.”

The theft from Jefferson Ward, which has 16 beds for cancer inpatients, was discovered last Wednesday.

Amanda Long, media officer at the East of England Co-operative Society said: “When we heard the shocking news that the TV and DVD player had been stolen, we got in touch to say we would replace them. A new TV and DVD player are on order, and we’ll be delivering it to the ward as soon as possible.

Donna Booton, Macmillan lead cancer nurse and matron at Essex County Hospital, said: “They have responded so quickly and generously, and we – and, I’m sure, the patients on Jefferson Ward – are touched by this donation.

“This story has touched many people and the hospital has received several offers of help, for which we’re grateful.

“We’re now considering these and how they can be used to the maximum benefit of patients on Jefferson Ward.”

To support the campaign visit www.justgiving.com/Sacha-Allen

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