A Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice van, used to collect furniture donations as well as deliver them in order to raise funds for the charity, was stolen from outside its premises earlier this week.
Thieves took the van from outside the charity’s new Hellaby furniture shop on Tuesday evening. It was later found damaged and dumped in Mexborough. Damage to the van will cost thousands of pounds to repair.
James Bower, Head of Retail at Bluebell Wood, said: “This has cost our charity money and time; it’s such a disappointing act of vandalism that has left us out of pocket. Ultimately, that is money that should be spent on our children and families.
“We are really upset about this and hope that anybody who may know more about this incident will come forward with information to the police. Whoever did this targeted our charity shop and we cannot believe that anybody would steal from a children’s hospice.”
Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, based in North Anston, has to raise in excess of £3m to keep its doors open in order to care for hundreds of children a year in the region with a shortened life expectancy. The charity receives less than 10% of its funds from government sources and relies upon community fundraising.
Claire Rintoul, Chief Executive at Bluebell Wood, said: “I am appalled that our van could be targeted in this way, at a cost to our charity. Without the tremendous support of our communities, we wouldn’t be able to provide the precious moments we do for our families at very tough times.
“We are calling upon anybody in the community who may know anything about this crime to come forward to the police with information. This theft won’t deter us from delivering exceptional care for our children and their families but does affect our supporters, volunteers and staff who work tirelessly to provide care at Bluebell Wood.”
A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said: “Even though this vehicle has been recovered, we are still keen to hear from anyone who might hold information that would help us identify those responsible.
“The theft of this vehicle has had an impact on the daily running of the charity and while some may feel that stealing a vehicle is a victimless crime, in reality it can cause distress and significant inconvenience. “Please call 101 or email email@example.com quoting incident number 241 of October 7 2015.”