A charity that spent 18 months fundraising to buy a specialised outdoor wheelchair is devastated - after the brand new chair was stolen just as it was about to start helping families.
The Daisy Cave Foundation was set up a 18 months ago to raise money to buy specialist disabled equipment to be loaned out to local families.
The biggest purchase from the funds raised so far was a ‘beach wheelchair’, but 20-year-old founder Daisy has been left heartbroken after callous thieves stole it from the charity’s secure garage – off Manor Road in Tring.
Daisy told the Gazette: “We had only just got it and it’s brand new, it was still yet to be properly assembled and was in the cardboard box.
“Hopefully the person who took it can change their mind and just leave it somewhere to be picked up.
“You really do question why someone would steal something like this.
“I think it would probably have taken two people to steal it, and they would have known what they were taking.”
The idea for the foundation came to Daisy after her family used a makeshift wheelbarrow to act as a wheelchair so she could accompany them to the beach when she was aged just 15.
Daisy hopes the wheelchair can be found as it would be difficult to assemble and is very specialist equipment, so would be difficult to sell on.
The distinctive blue and black Hippocampe leisure wheelchair was stolen from the lock up sometime between 10am on Saturday, March 4 and 5.45pm on Monday, March 6.
The serial number for the wheelchair, worth around £3,000, is HI5628.
Daisy added: “This is obviously a very important piece of equipment for both us as a charity and to the families that are now unable to use it.
“It took the charity a long time and a lot of hard work to get this and it’s a devastating blow.”
Neighbourhood Sergeant Adele Hopkin, from Hertfordshire Police, added: “The charity supports disabled young people and, understandably, everyone associated with the foundation is extremely upset by what has happened. It took a lot of hard work on their part to acquire the wheelchair for families to enjoy.
“I am appealing for anyone who knows the whereabouts of the wheelchair to please get in touch. It’s highly distinctive so would be instantly recognisable to anyone who comes across it, or who has seen it advertised for sale.
“I would also like to hear from anyone who may have seen the box being stolen. It is highly likely there would have been more than one offender, due to the size of the package.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Tring Safer Neighbourhood Team via the non-emergency number 101, quoting crime reference D3/17/159.