Mother’s anger over charity cash theft from Aylsham’s Christmas tree festival

An angry mother is appealing to the conscience of a callous thief who stole money from a Dravet Syndrome UK charity box at Aylsham's Christmas tree festival.

Annabel Hughes said she would like to sit down with the thief and tell them the impact of Dravet's, a life-limiting and incurable form of epilepsy, on her seven-year-old daughter Rebekah.

Mrs Hughes said she hoped that if the thief learned of the frequent, sometimes life-threatening, seizures from which Rebekah suffered, he or she might feel regret and even return the cash, which she believes could have been more than �100.

Rebekah, who has a twin brother, Henry, has already had to make between 80-100 emergency trips to hospital and has been rushed into intensive care by the East Anglian Air Ambulance on a number of occasions.

The full box was forced open and emptied of all but 40p during the festival in St Michael's Parish Church, from November 28-December 3.

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It had been beside a tree decorated by the Hughes family as part of the successful festival. Last month a complete Poppy Appeal box was also stolen from the church, according to David Smith, president of Aylsham Royal British Legion.

Mrs Hughes, of Blickling Road, Aylsham, said she was very upset at the theft of money which should have gone to fund research into a cure and help the charity buy vital monitors so that carers could respond immediately if a sufferer had a seizure during the night.

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She also felt badly for the many generous donors who had specifically wanted to support the cause as they knew Rebekah.

Rev Andrew Beane, Vicar of Aylsham, said the church had donated �50 to compensate for the loss.

? Ring Aylsham Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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