Charity box stolen from village

A CANCER sufferer's dying wish to raise money for hospice workers has been marred by heartless thieves who stole a charity box from the doorstep of their village home.

A CANCER sufferer's dying wish to raise money for hospice workers has been marred by heartless thieves who stole a charity box from the doorstep of their village home.

Fred Stannarddied in October after a battle against bow and liver cancer and wanted to raise money for St Nicholas Hospice, Bury St Edmunds, by having a donation box outside his home in Fornham All Saints.

But his kind-hearted gesture has been ruined by thieves who stole the box to the dismay of Mr Stannard's wife Margaret.

She said: "Christmas was going to be tough anyway and this has made me even more upset.

"To have a box outside the house and raise money for the hospice was one of Fred's wishes before he died and I'm so angry anybody could be so heartless especially so soon after Fred died.

"It made me not want to turn any Christmas lights on this year but that would mean depriving other people.

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"My whole family is so angry and I just cried all day after the box was stolen.

"My grandchildren always asked me if they could put money in the box, they loved doing it for their grandfather."

Earlier this month, Mrs Stannard and her close family turned on their external Christmas lights and began raising money on the day her husband would have been 63 years old.

But just two weeks later, the charity box was stolen and police are now appealing for witnesses to the cruel theft.

Mrs Stannard said: "Fred was always one of these people who lit the front of his house up but we thought about not doing it this year after his death.

"Though he wouldn't accept the fact he was going to die, we knew we wouldn't see Christmas with him.

"He bought this big crib, which I have always wanted, to put outside with a donation box for the hospice.

"We set it up with a stable and made it look really nice and attractive to people.

"This is a quiet village and Fred was so popular – I'm sure no one in the village could have done this, it was probably just someone passing through."

Mr Stannard died in October after losing his brave fight against liver cancer.

His wife said: "Fred was very popular in the village and would have helped anybody. He had great inner strength and beat bow cancer and lived for another 12 months before he died from liver cancer.

"He was a great lover of Christmas and would always take control of the celebrations."

After his death, the family asked for donations to be sent to the Guildhall Surgery, Bury, who Mrs Stannard praised after her husband was allowed to gracefully die in his own home. They then wanted to raise money for the Hospice who had cared for Mr Stannard.

The box, belonging to the Hospice, was attached to a pole in the ground and both were stolen sometime during the day on Wednesday .

Anyone who has any information about the incident should contact Suffolk police on 01284 774100.

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