Community helps fundraiser replace stolen charity money

Katie Skelton and Sam Hills
Katie Skelton and Sam Hills

KINDHEARTED people have rallied around a fundraiser who selflessly replaced £500 of stolen donations with her own money.

Sam Hills, 24, of Dominion Close, Broadwater, said she felt sick when she realised a heartless thief had pinched money raised from a Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) fundraiser that she had organised.

“I felt sick. I just felt awful,” said Sam. “I felt like it was my fault. I should’ve done this or that.

“I kept the whole thing to myself for a little while. I felt bad and guilty and I was scared people would say horrible things about me.”

The money was stolen from Sam’s bag inside the staff room at the dental practice where she works.

She informed the police but they were unable to do anything due to a lack of CCTV evidence and witnesses.

Not wanting to let anyone down, Sam donated £500 of money she was hoping to spend on a holiday, to GOSH.

It took her a week to work up the courage to reveal what had happened.

“I put it on Facebook to tell people what had happened. I had a lot of positive comments. It was overwhelming and emotional to read.

“Even now I’m still thinking people are going to blame me but the support has been so kind.”

Following the theft, Sam’s friend Katie Skelton created an online fundraising page to recoup the £500.

Within three days the page had surpassed the £500 target, reaching £565 by the time the Herald went to press.

Sam will receive the £500 so that she can go on holiday and the remainder will go to GOSH.

Sam said: “I want to say thank you so much for thinking of me in that way and thank you to everyone who donated.

“She’s (Katie’s) been an amazing friend for many years and means the world to me.”

Katie, 24, of Shakespeare Road, Worthing, said when she saw Sam’s Facebook page and how upset she was that it broke her heart.

The response to the page has left her feeling overwhelmed.

“It’s incredible. The amount of people who have donated who don’t even know Sam is lovely.”

The pair have set up a new fundraising page for GOSH. To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/hillsbills