Sat, 23 May 2020
UPDATE: Due to the amazing response Florence's story attracted, a Crowdfunding page has now been set up so the public can add their donations. Click here to visit the page.
Heartless thieves have made off with a stash of items left to raise money for the NHS by a young Newbury schoolgirl.
Florence Hatton, aged 10, set up the makeshift stall at the end of her road, selling her own things to raise the vital funds after her grandmother, Hazel Hatton, died of Covid-19 recently.
But last week, when she went out to see if she had managed to sell anything further, the St Martin’s School pupil noticed three large crates of DVDs – amounting to more than 100 items – had been taken, but no contribution added to her honesty pot.
Her father, Christian Hatton, said Florence was left devastated by the thoughtless act.
“It is such a crying shame,” he said.
“So far people have been so nice and trusting; it’s all been great and then all of a sudden this happens.
“Florence is very upset by it and it diminishes what items we now have left to sell and raise more money.
“People have been really kind and donating their things for her to sell too, but it’s going to be a struggle to raise much more now.”
So far, Year 6 pupil Florence has raised £700 and she intends to keep the stall going until the beginning of June, when she is due to return to school.
The stall – which is at the junction of Mayfair Drive and Fifth Road in Newbury – was initially set up after her grandmother suffered a fall at Thatcham Court Care Home and was taken to Basingstoke hospital.
Florence wrote a rainbow-coloured sign saying: “I’m raising money for the NHS – take what you like and put some coins in my box,” before arranging an array of books, toys and DVDs around it; some donated by her brother Joshua, aged 15.
The sale took on new meaning, however, when Mrs Hatton died from Covid-19 on April 19, just three days after being admitted to hospital.
Florence then added a new sign, saying: “I lost my Grandma to the C-19 last night.
“I’m sad and trying to raise more money to thank all the NHS staff who helped her!
“Thank you for all your donations so far!”
Mr Hatton added that the support of the community for Florence’s fundraising had been a real comfort to the family at a difficult time.