'We wouldn't let them ruin it': Children's charity raises almost £1,000 at Victorious after being robbed last year

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A FAMILY behind a children's charity have raised almost a £1,000 at Victorious festival - returning to the event after heartless thieves stole £400 from the charity's stall last year.

Sam's Haven provides respite holidays for families who have children with life-threatening or terminal illnesses.

Paul Merrick and his son Sam Merrick (eight), from Denmead,  who has suffered from a number of serious health problems since his birth.

Paul Merrick and his son Sam Merrick (eight), from Denmead, who has suffered from a number of serious health problems since his birth.

It was inspired by Sam Merrick, now 11, who was born at 26 weeks and has an immune deficiency condition that means he has to sleep with a ventilator and has had to undergo a bone marrow transplant.

Last year a money tin containing more than £400 was taken from the charity's stall at the festival on Southsea Common, with the thieves remaining at large.

Mum Louise, 37, said the charity's stall selling glow sticks did 'really well,' with many people saying 'they couldn't believe' the charity had been robbed the previous year.

She said: 'The general public were such a support.

'We made more than £800 profit from the weekend.'

Dad Paul said the team were 'did think twice' about attending the festival this year, but was glad they did having raised so much money from a 'much happier' crowd.

He said: 'We were a lot more cautious this - we kept all the money in bumbags rather than a tin.

'But the atmosphere of the crowd was much happier this year.

'Last year the weather was miserable - so the nice weather makes a big difference.'

Paul added that the charity is currently looking for volunteers to support families during their respite trips at Haven Holiday Park.