Leeds baby charity cash stolen

UPSET: Collette Silkstone with son Alfie. Alfie's grandmother's home was targeted by burglars who took money collected for the Leeds heart surgery fund.
UPSET: Collette Silkstone with son Alfie. Alfie's grandmother's home was targeted by burglars who took money collected for the Leeds heart surgery fund.
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Burglars have stolen £800 raised by the parents of a poorly baby for Leeds’s threatened children’s heart surgery unit.

Darren McManus and Collette Silkstone collected the cash for charity as their nine-month-old baby Alfie was born with a rare heart condition.

But the money was taken by thieves who targeted the house of Mr McManus’s mum Christina in Cross Green, Leeds.

He said: “We are really upset.”

Alfie was born in January and diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which accounts for one per cent of congenital heart defects.

Doctors feared he might not survive and the newborn was rushed to Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hotel in London to undergo the first of his procedures, then had to go back later for further surgery, including having a donor heart valve fitted. The baby has since had seven operations in total and is now doing well at home.

Alfie’s parents, of Richmond Hill, Leeds, wanted to support the hospitals which cared for him, including the Leeds General Infirmary children’s heart surgery service, currently under threat because of a national review.

His family had already raised a total of £2,000, which went to the hospital in London and the parents’ accommodation where they stayed. Their next events, including a walk and an auction, collected £800 which was to go to the LGI-based Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, which buys equipment for the Leeds unit.

The money was at the house of Alfie’s grandma, which was burgled last weekend.

Mr McManus, 29, said: “We were waiting to get it up to £1,000 before handing it in.”

His partner added: “I couldn’t believe it. I don’t know what people are thinking sometimes.” Laptops, games consoles and jewellery were also taken.

Inspector Jackie Hawkes, who leads the local neighbourhood policing team, said: “Any burglary is one too many but in this case those committing the crime are lower than the low after taking money raised for a very worthwhile cause.” Anyone with information should ring Burmantofts and Richmond Hill neighbourhood policing team via 0845 6060606.

The area around Burnsall and Appletreewick is on of Sally-Anne Greenfield's favourites.

My Yorkshire: Leeds Community Foundation’s Sally-Anne Greenfield