Callous Christmas Day thief steals charity donations from Bury St Edmunds family who light up their house for local cause

Mark and Donna Crake are pictured with children George (11) and Sam (8) at their home in Bury. The c

Mark and Donna Crake are pictured with children George (11) and Sam (8) at their home in Bury. The charity box from their Christmas lights display was stolen. - Credit: Archant

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A Suffolk family who light up their house for charity every year were left “gutted” after a thief stole their donation box on Christmas Day.

For around five years Bury St Edmunds couple Donna and Mark Crake, with sons George and Sam, have decorated their house in Kembold Close at Christmas and taken donations for a local learning disability support group.

The family tradition, featuring 1,000 lights and taking four days to put up, has become a festive fixture for neighbours and residents on the Moreton Hall estate.

“We have never had it stolen before,” said Mrs Crake. “I am hoping whoever it was will realise what they have done and feel so ashamed they return the money.”

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The box was outside the house near Christ Church on Christmas Day. It is estimated around £60 would have been in the box, just over half of what the Crake’s raise every year for the Gateway Club in Bury, which helps young adults with learning disabilities.

Green King employee Mr Crake, 47, who volunteers at the Gateway club every week, and his eldest son George, 11, work hard every year to put up the impressive display and thanks to an “uplifting” Christmas spirit, their hard work was not in vain.

Mrs Crake responded to the theft, which they discovered late on Christmas Day, by creating a JustGiving online donation page and sharing the news on social media.

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As a result they have more than doubled what they usually make, with donations coming in from complete strangers as well as neighbours. The JustGiving page has raised £480 so far.

“It has been amazing – their is certainly more good than bad out there,” added Mrs Crake.

The box is believed to have been taken by an “opportunistic” thief sometime between 8.30pm on Christmas Day and 10.30pm.

Mr Crake said the money always went a long way, helping to organise days out and other events. They rely entirely on volunteers to help give around 40 young adults a place to come to socialise and meet people in a safe environment.

He said: “Of all the days, you would have thought it would be safest on Christmas. It was gutting. I went to bed feeling really depressed. It was hard on George as well, he just couldn’t understand why anyone would do this. Why would someone stoop so low?

“But the response has been incredibly uplifting. We have had two people offer to help volunteer, which is worth an awful lot. The money goes a long way, and has a big impact on our members.

“I have been working with the group for about 20 years – it is just a couple of hours every Wednesday evening (in Bury).”

If you wish to donate, visit you have any information in relation to this theft phone Suffolk police on 101

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