Volunteer Sue’s ‘faith in humanity restored’ after charity box theft in Royston

(L-R) Essex and Herts Air Ambulance trust shop assistant manager John Rees, volunteers Addo Addison,

(L-R) Essex and Herts Air Ambulance trust shop assistant manager John Rees, volunteers Addo Addison, Sue Akers, Buntingford 10 race director Steve Smith, shop manager Tina Jolly and Sheila Rees outside the shop in Royston. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

A Royston charity shop volunteer has said “her faith in humanity has been restored”, after generous donations were made following the theft of a collection box in the town.

Sue Akers has volunteered in Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust charity shops for eight years, first in the Ware branch and now in Royston where she lives.

Part of her role is to distribute collection boxes to the businesses in the town who will have them, and then collect the funds for the charity – but she was saddened to learn that the box in Days Bakery in Fish Hill was stolen during a break-in.

She told the Crow: “Nothing was taken, just the collection tins that were there. What is the matter with people? I know some people are desperate for money, but this is appalling. So many lives are saved by the kind donations from people.

“This is the second time this year it has happened to our charity as the tin in Hoggs was also stolen earlier in the year.

“It’s sad because the charity is well supported – I think people appreciate the work they do and it was for that reason I got involved in it. It does matter who you are or how old you are, you may need an air ambulance at some point in your life.”

Sue posted about it on the Royston Reporting Page on Facebook and caught the attention of Steve Smith, the race director of the sold out Buntingford 10 – which is due to take place on December 30.

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Steve said that his race team, on behalf of Royston Runners, “would like to donate £200 towards replacing the tin, and would champion the charity for this year’s race – with a limited number of free places for those who want to run for EHAAT”.

Now shop manager Tina Jolly, assistant manager John Rees and volunteer Sue have met with Steve to thank him for his generosity. Sue said: “It’s fantastic, Steve really has restored my faith in humanity, and I’m pleased that something good as come out of this.”

Steve, who lives in Royston and works as a carpenter, told the Crow: “I just felt very sorry for Sue that this has happened so we are going to take the charity on board.

“I know how important the charity is and have seen first-hand the amazing work they do.

“I was shocked how much attention the comment got on Facebook – we always like to champion a local cause and this was just something little to help someone.”

Sue said she was also grateful that £100 was donated by Kerry and Steve Harrington at the Black Horse in Melbourn after they heard about the theft.

Kerry said: “We have a bottle on the bar that people put their change into and when I heard about what happened I said that money is EHAATs.

“I think it’s absolutely disgusting what happened and I hate theft. At the end of the day, it’s a really good cause and you never know when you’re going to need the charity’s help – so we want to do what we can.”

If you would like to run for EHAAT at the Buntingford 10 on December 30, email buntingford10@roystonrunners.co.uk or search ‘Buntingford 10’ on Facebook.