Fury at theft of charity collection

A LIVID grandmother wants to show the thieves who stole charity cash the plight of the sick children the money was destined to help.

Simon Tomlinson

A LIVID grandmother wants to show the thieves who stole charity cash the plight of the sick children the money was destined to help.

Burglars made off with a CLIC Sargent bucket containing around �100 when they raided Woodbridge Town Football Club earlier this month.

Club member Val Smy set up the fund because the children's cancer charity had provided invaluable support for her grandson, Oliver Lomas, when he was struck down with leukaemia six years ago.

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As featured in the EADT in 2003, Mr Lomas was treated at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge and given a last-minute bone marrow transplant at Bristol Children's Hospital.

Speaking about the crime, Mrs Smy, 67, of Peterhouse Crescent, said: “I burst into tears. I was so cross. I would like to get hold of them and cart them to the children's wards at Addenbrooke's and Bristol to show them what these kids have to go through.

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“I don't want people telling me these thieves have got a bad background or there's a credit crunch - I'm having none of it.”

Mr Lomas, now 22, has been in remission for five years - despite being given a 40 per cent chance of survival - and he is now working for his parents at the Plough and Sail pub in Snape.

Echoing his grandmother's sentiments, he said: “It is wrong and it shouldn't happen. There are people who are going to miss out.”

The club, in Seckford Hall Road, was broken into between 11.10pm on Saturday, March 7 and 3.05am the next day and the thieves pinched two tins of cigars, two collection tins as well as the charity bucket from the bar.

In a show of support for Mrs Smy, bingo players at the club decided to donate profits, which normally go to East Anglia's Children's hospices, to CLIC Sargent.

Mrs Smy, whose husband, Eric, was secretary at the club for 14 years, has thanked everyone for their kind gesture but said the criminals had now also deprived the children's hospices of funds.

Police are appealing for information over the burglary and are asking anyone who knows anything to call Pc Darren Jones at Woodbridge Police Station on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.


OLIVER Lomas was just a few weeks away from death in 2002 after discovering he had chronic myeloid leukaemia on a trip to France.

But today the former Farlingaye High School pupil is taking life in his stride and pursuing a career in the pub industry.

The 22-year-old, who described his six-year remission as “brilliant”, even has aspirations of running a pub himself one day.

Mr Lomas spent several weeks in a French hospital after collapsing while out tenpin bowling with friends.

Within three months, Mr Lomas went into the advanced stage of the disease, when patients are usually given six to eight weeks to live.

Luckily, a bone marrow donor was found quickly and he underwent surgery in Bristol and while making a recovery the family were full of praise for the CLIC Sargent nurse at Ipswich Hospital.

Mr Lomas' illness meant he never gained any GCSEs and although Farlingaye offered him the chance to return to study, he opted to work for his parents, Louise and Steve, at their chain of pubs in Suffolk and is now a fully trained chef.

Despite his ordeal, Mr Lomas said he never dwelt on the consequences.

Now working at the Plough and Sail in Snape, Mr Lomas, of Waldringfield, said: “I never really thought about things at the time and I never looked ahead and thought what I would or wouldn't be able to do. I didn't want to take that attitude. I just wanted to keep a positive mind.”

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