A North East millionaire has stepped in to help a church after thieves stole from their Poppy Appeal collection box.
Brian Burnie, who sold his Doxford Hall estate in Northumberland to set up cancer charity Daft as a Brush, has stepped in to help All Saints church in Rothbury after thieves targeted their British Legion appeal.
Mr Burnie said he read about the theft from the church in the Journal and was so upset he wanted to compensate the church by donating £200 to replace the money that was stolen.
“When I read the article at the weekend I was upset that someone could stoop so low as to steal from war veterans and because there had been a similar situation before I thought I would help,” said Mr Burnie.
“I thought it was only right and proper to refund the money. I would like to donate £200 so it means they are more than compensated.
“Hopefully the original money has since been recovered because it is awful,” he said.
The charity box for the Poppy Appeal was at the back of All Saints church in Rothbury, Northumberland, when it was targeted by thieves and an unknown amount of money was taken on November 1.
Mr Burnie said: “I don’t know how someone could do that to people who have fought for the country.
“I have been involved with war veterans in the Rothbury area before and I know a little about what they went through so I just wanted to help.”
The Reverend Michael Boag, of All Saints, said the community had been left shocked by the theft but he said it was heart-warming to hear of generosity like Mr Burnie’s in the community.
“It is just so lovely,” said Rev Boag.
“We are immensely grateful and heart-warmed that someone has done this.
“People have said how shocked they were by the theft and how awful it is but this act of generosity just shows the great people we have in Northumberland.
“I am very proud of the fact we have such a generous community and I am so grateful for Mr Burnie’s donation to the appeal,” he said.
The hunt is still ongoing for information on the theft of money from the collection box inside All Saints church.
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “On Friday, November 1, police were informed the seal on a Poppy appeal collection box at a church in Rothbury had been damaged and money in the box has been taken.”
Anyone with information should call Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 or alternatively the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.