Father Christmas was back in action giving out presents to Eastbourne children just days after thieves stole toys worth £2,000 from Santa’s Grotto in Princes Park.
Businesses rallied round and donated cash after the Herald revealed thieves had broken into Pistachio’s in Princes Park and taken toys which were to be given out as well as a large amount of soft play equipment which was used by local youngsters.
Within hours, the Arndale Centre had donated £200, as had Cobb PR in Langney Road, hotelier Sheikh Abid Gulzar and Eastbourne mayor Mike Thompson authorised £200 from the Mayor’s Fund, which had cross political party support.
While cafe owner Jayne Brierly met the cost of replacing the toys which were to be given out by Father Christmas, the money donated by businesses will be used to replenish the soft play area used by young parents and their children.
The presents taken – wooden toys – were to be given out and the proceeds going to the Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice.
The thieves struck on Monday December 16 between 9pm-11pm, ripped off the shutters before using a brick to smash the window and get in.
As well as the large quantity of toys, the thieves also took the waitresses’ tips.
Jayne Brierly said, “This has been a real set back for us as we are a real hub of the community, particularly for mums who come here to chat and have a coffee while their children play safely.”
But Jayne said she had been overwhelmed by the generosity of business and individuals who had rallied round.
“Everybody has been so supportive and I have been humbled by people wanting to help and replace the stuff that was stolen. Somebody brought in selection boxes for us to give as presents and another person came in with £10 for the waitresses whose tips were stolen.”