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Christmas ‘back on track’ at Rainbows following toy theft

Staff at Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People say they have been ‘overwhelmed’ by offers of support following the theft of Christmas toys earmarked for youngsters with life-limiting conditions.

Callous thieves stole the toys collected and stored at the Great Central Railway in Quorn, which were set to be distributed to youngsters at Rainbows and Leicester Royal Infirmary.

But since the news of the theft broke generous donations have been flooding in from across the region to ensure youngsters would not miss out on the magic of Christmas.

And East Midlands Trains (EMT) has also stepped in with an offer to restore the shortfall in toys through its seasonal Santa charity trains.

A spokesperson for the train operator said: "We're delighted to be able to help with such a worthy cause. Our staff were really upset to hear about the theft of the Christmas presents and wanted to do something to help out. We've already had lots of interest from our staff wanting to donate gifts and support the Leicester Royal Infirmary and the Rainbows hospice.

She added: "Every year we organise special charity Santa trains to support different charities across our network which our staff support and we're pleased to be helping another two worthy charities this Christmas."

Staff, youngsters and families at the hospice were initially shocked and saddened as news of the toy theft began to sink in on Thursday (26 October).

But Andrew Ball, Director of Supporter Relations, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the response to the story in the news about the theft of Christmas presents destined for Rainbows. The warmth and generosity of the public has been overwhelming. And we are so grateful to East Midlands Trains for stepping in with their warm-hearted support.

“We are therefore delighted to announce that, thanks to our amazing supporters and EMT we’ve been inundated with gifts and toys and that Christmas is officially back on track for the youngsters and families at Rainbows! Thank you!”

The hospice has issued its thanks to anyone who has donated a gift – and says it will now have enough toys to go round. Anyone who would still like to give is asked to consider a monetary donation so the charity can create a truly magical Christmas for its youngsters and families. Donating is easy and takes just a few minutes at www.rainbows.co.uk/donate

Alternatively, supporters can purchase one of the charity’s unique Gifts that Give instead. Gifts that Give are a collection of alternative gifts - like music therapy, hydrotherapy or a special trip out - for Rainbows children, young people and their families. To find out more people can visit any one of our Rainbows shops or log on to www.rainbows.co.uk/giftsthatgive.

(Picture caption)

Two-year-old Patrick with mum Vicky and sister Phoebe (seven).