Generous villagers rally round to save Christmas in Cassop

The Advertiser Series: Cassop villagers with the donated gifts Cassop villagers with the donated gifts

VILLAGERS have rallied round to save Christmas after heartless thieves stole £300-worth of children’s presents and raffle prizes.

Residents were devastated after burglars broke into Cassop Community Centre, in Cassop, near Durham City, early on the morning of Sunday, December 8.

They smashed in doors, causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage.

Committee leaders hope to claim the costs on their insurance.

But, perhaps even more shocking, the crooks stole numerous wrapped chocolate collection boxes and other presents for the village’s children’s Christmas party and items to be raffled off at the annual senior citizens’ party and a coffee morning.

However, as news of the break-in spread through the community, people took it on themselves to rescue the events and gifts began pouring in.

By the time the senior citizens’ party took place on Thursday (December 12) and the coffee morning followed today (Tuesday, December 17), there were enough raffle prizes to go round – and organisers say children won’t be disappointed when their date comes round this Friday (December 20).

Margaret Wilson, secretary of the community centre committee, said: “We would just like to say thank you to everyone.

“The people of Cassop have been marvellous.

“We were all very upset (at the break-in) but people have been marvellous.”

The original gifts and prizes were bought from community centre funds, but the replacements have come from individuals, families, Christ the King Church in Bowburn and firms including Marks and Spencer’s at the Arnison Centre in Pity Me and Cooplands Bakery.

More than 60 pensioners attended Thursday’s party and up to 50 under-16s are expected on Friday.

The break-in has been reported to Durham Police, who Mrs Wilson said had been marvellous in response.

Anyone with information on the break-in should call the police non-emergency number, 101.

For more information on Cassop Community Centre, search on facebook.com

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