A young mum and her four-year-old daughter, whose home was burgled by heartless “scum”, have had their Christmas saved by kind-hearted family, friends and even complete strangers who have rallied round to help them.
Woodland Spa receptionist Rachel Hilton (23) had gone to be by her sister’s side as she went into labour last Friday night.
They’ve walked into a house where there’s pictures of a child all over the walls and taken her presents and my belongingsRachel Hilton
But, when she returned to her home, in Keith Street, Gannow, at 6am on Saturday she found the house had been broken into. Raiders had smashed the kitchen window and stolen a television, jewellery and iPad, along with all the Christmas presents she had bought for Tiamara, worth a total of £1,000.
They had also ransacked the whole house.
Too scared to return to Keith Street, Rachel and Tiamara have moved in with Rachel’s mum, Carol Ingham, and her partner, Charlie Geldart, a member of the BDMCC biker group.
The group meets at the Lane Ends pub in Kiddrow Lane and members set up a collection for the mum and daughter to ensure their Christmas is not cancelled.
Family, friends and members of the public have now provided the pair with a new television, tablet, and bags of Christmas presents for Tiamara.
“The people who burgled our house are scum. My daughter is heartbroken that we are having to leave the house she’s grown up in. It’s a big shock for her, she’s in pieces.
“It’s turned her life upside down. She was very excited about Christmas, this is the first year she’s really understood what’s going on,” said Rachel, a former pupil at Hameldon Community College.
But she praised the generosity of those who have helped them look forward to Christmas.
“People have been so kind. I’m really grateful to everyone who’s helped us. Being a single parent has never been easy. I work as much as possible to keep a roof over our heads so Christmas is always even more tight with presents to buy.
“They’ve walked into a house where there’s pictures of a child all over the walls and taken her presents and my belongings.
“I have been left feeling violated and heartbroken. The police are investigating the matter and I hope and pray the people who did this are caught before they ruin someone else’s home or Christmas.
“But I’ve been really overwhelmed with how kind people have been, especially so close to Christmas. It’s hard for everyone at the moment.
“I am lucky to have such a supportive family and even complete strangers have helped us. It’s amazing.
“We’re now looking forward to Christmas and a fresh start in a new home in the New Year.”
Anyone with information about the burglary can call police on 101.