Thieves steal hundreds of pounds from church Remembrance collection

PUBLISHED: 17:12 12 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:45 13 November 2019

St Andrew's Church and churchyard, Backwell.

St Andrew's Church and churchyard, Backwell.

Archant

Hundreds of pounds collected at a Remembrance Day service was stolen by thieves who broke into a North Somerset Church last night.

More than £800 was taken from St Andrew's Church in Backwell last night after thieves forced their way into the rectory by breaking down the door to obtain keys to the church.

These were then used to gain access to the main building, where they took vital cash destined for the Royal British Legion.

Rev Dr Katy Garner said: "I'm very upset.

It's a hard start to Remembrance.

"We had a service of about 200 people from two year olds to 80 years olds who all generously donated their money to this cause, and it feels like this generous gathering has been defiled.

"A lot of people get bogged down with Remembrance and focus on World War I and World War II, and that's important, but a villager's son died in Afghanistan, so it hits home a lot harder here.

"We will pray for the people who chose to do this and hope they have a change of heart."

The village has rallied around the church, and villagers are already organising events and finding ways to replace the cash.

A collection has started in the post office, and Backwell scouts are arranging a bake sale to raise more money for the Legion.

Rev Garner said: "The outpouring of love from the village has been amazing.

"It just reminds me that, whenever an evil thing happens, people always come along and do something to make sure some good comes out of it.

"It's good that people feel so strongly about it - it shows there's really good community spirit here."

Meanwhile, the church has said it will hold a special service this Sunday, to help raise more cash for the Legion.

Rev Garner said: "We will carry on - we're not going to be defeated by people who think it's acceptable to take money from injured soldiers and their families."

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Constabulary said: "Specialist crime scene investigators have already examined the scene.

"Anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area overnight is asked to call 101 and provide the call handler with the reference 5219261613."

An online fundraising campaign has also been launched to help recoup the cash taken by the thieves.

To donate click here.

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