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‘Incredible generosity’ of community raises thousands to help replace charity’s Rural Coffee Caravan stolen from Bury St Edmunds

PUBLISHED: 20:00 16 July 2017 | UPDATED: 20:00 16 July 2017

The Rural Coffee Caravan holds a village event. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The Rural Coffee Caravan holds a village event. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Archant

The “incredible generosity” of the people of Suffolk has seen thousands of pounds raised to help replace a caravan stolen from a charity by callous thieves.

The Rural Coffee Caravan makes a stop in Finningham
Sally Fogden with Judith Starr and David CurtisThe Rural Coffee Caravan makes a stop in Finningham Sally Fogden with Judith Starr and David Curtis

The Rural Coffee Caravan, which for 14 years has worked to fight loneliness and isolation among older people by delivering coffee and company all over the county, was stolen from near Bury St Edmunds on July 9/10.

The charity launched a fundraising appeal and within a matter of days nearly £3,500 has been donated. The charity need to raise more than £23,000 to replace the caravan and all the equipment stored inside.

Sally Fogden, founder and chairman of the charity, said: “We are completely overwhelmed by the incredible generosity everyone has shown.

“I am truly touched, the kindness of people has been brilliant. Seeing how much people value us has been very touching.”

She said she found the theft hard to understand, with the caravan clearly liveried and most of the stuff inside of little value to a thief.

Inside the caravan was a large array of charity equipment, from coffee flasks and cafetieres to charity leaflets and branded mugs and blankets.

“We think that maybe they thought it was a catering van, and they were going after the catering equipment,” said Mrs Fogden, whose charity work earned her a MBE from the Queen.

“But if it was catering equipment they wanted, they will be very disappointed,” she added. “I am not sure what they can do with our stuff, dump it somewhere presumably.”

The caravan was supplied to the charity at a low price by Stowmarket Caravans, which has since closed down. It has spent its whole life as the coffee caravan and has a lot of sentimental value to the charity.

At the time of the theft it was parked behind a barn and the hitch was locked. The gate to the farmyard was locked, as was the gate to the adjoining paddock, which was vandalised. The thieves then drove across the paddock behind the barn and somehow hooked it up and made off.

• To donate to help replace the caravan go to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ruralcoffeecaravan or visit your nearest Ipswich Building Society Branch

• Anyone with information or who has seen the caravan should phone Suffolk police on 101

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