Anna is a reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Donors rally to refill charity collection box raided in burglary

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Whakamarama General Store owner Gary Henwood has been blown away by donations after a collection box for people with cystic fibrosis was stolen earlier this week. Photo / Andrew Warner
Whakamarama General Store owner Gary Henwood has been blown away by donations after a collection box for people with cystic fibrosis was stolen earlier this week. Photo / Andrew Warner

The owner of Whakamarama General Store has been amazed by the generosity of people who have donated more than $300 to replace money stolen by thieves who broke into the store.

His store was broken into about 4.30am on Wednesday and a collection box for cystic fibrosis with about $400 to $500 in it was stolen along with cigarettes and other items.

"We've had a donation of $300 and just today had another $50," owner Gary Henwood said.

Mr Henwood said the generosity was "really so unexpected".

The charity had nearly been reimbursed the amount of its stolen donations, he said.

"If anything comes out of this, it shows we might have the odd scumbag in our community, but we also have some super, super special people too," Mr Henwood said.

"The support has been awesome, it's just been so nice."

Mr Henwood said he had made raising funds for people with cystic fibrosis his "pet project", after two young people close to him were affected by it.

"It's not one of the big charities around," he said.

Mr Henwood had not heard from the "low-lifes" who stole the donations.

"No word at all. They haven't popped in to say sorry.

"What they took off people with cystic fibrosis, they have to live with," he said.

Cystic Fibrosis Association Bay of Plenty branch chairwoman Nicole Wakerley was delighted people had stepped forward to help.

"It's just amazing, donation boxes are actually really helpful," Mrs Wakerley said.


Cystic Fibrosis

• Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disorder where the body makes thick mucus which congests the lungs.

• It is the most common life-threatening genetic disorder affecting New Zealand children. There is not yet a known cure.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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