GENEROUS businesses have rallied to support a local charity after one of its collection boxes was stolen.
The Hounds for Heroes donation box containing £200 was taken in a burglary last week at the dog grooming salon Absolutely Barking, in Westbrook Centre, Cowplain.
After reading of the theft, companies have pledged £400 to the charity that helps injured war heroes lead independent lives by providing them with assistant dogs.
Design firm Key 2, based in Horndean, and gardening company GreenThumb Lawn Service, in Catherington, each donated £200 cash to the charity.
Lesley Keating, from Key 2, said: ‘It’s just disgusting that someone could do that to a charity that helps people who have done so much for their country.
‘And the fact that it happened so close to Remembrance Day is dreadful. Its founder Allen Parton is such a committed and driven person, it’s such a shame someone could steal from him.’
John Turnbull, franchisee of GreenThumb Lawn Service, was equally as horrified.
Having only just welcomed home his 22-year-old soldier son, Jamie, from a six-month tour of Afghanistan, the charity is extremely close to his heart.
He said: ‘Jamie spoke to me about the things he went through when he was out there. Some of it was pretty unpleasant and some of his friends got injured. To think that these lads are out doing that for us and some people at home could steal from them is really shocking.
‘Whoever did this obviously didn’t think about who they were taking from.’
Portsmouth-based pet store Pet Price also donated food, toys and accessories to the organisation’s young puppies – which is what the stolen money would have gone towards.
The pet firm’s co-owner Simon Bratby said: ‘It’s horrible to see people who are trying to do their bit to help others targeted by criminals.
‘We’ve had charity boxes stolen in the past and it’s just not right – especially a soldiers charity.’
Hounds for Heroes was founded in April last year by Gulf War veteran Mr Parton whose world-famous dog Endal helped him recover from a serious head injury.
Mr Parton said: ‘It’s humbling to see lots of people pull together to support the charity after such an upsetting experience. I want to say a huge heartfelt thank you to them all.’