Neighbours rally round to replace stolen Christmas presents

Bury Times: Michelle and Reece Longden and Christine Turner, back, who gave money to help replace stolen Christmas presents Michelle and Reece Longden and Christine Turner, back, who gave money to help replace stolen Christmas presents

A FAMILY whose presents were stolen discovered the true meaning of Christmas when residents gave money for them to replace the lost gifts.

Mum-of-two Michelle Longden and partner Leon Cowley, were left heartbroken after burglars snatched thousands of pounds worth of presents and valuables.

Thieves looted the couple’s Vernon Street home and ripped the wrapping paper from presents for sons Reece, aged nine — who has special needs caused by congenital myotonic dystrophy and hydrocephalus — and Connor, aged 15.

The burglars found the gifts hidden in Michelle’s room and snatched valuables from around the house.

Since the family’s plight appeared in the Bury Times, the family has been “humbled” by donations from readers, neighbours and the Bury delivery office where Leon works.

Michelle said: “It is truly amazing. We feel so humbled there are brilliant people out there who wanted to help us out.”

Teaching assistant Michelle, aged 32, and postman Leon, aged 34 were not able to claim on home insurance for any of the items stolen.

Michelle said: “What has really got me is people are donating from their own pockets when it is Christmas for them as well.

“These are just really nice people who work hard for their money and are willing to help somebody out.”

Bury Times reader Christine Turner, of Chesham Road, said: “My husband Glenn and I both read the article and thought we would like to give something to this family to help brighten up their Christmas.”

Michelle has also been approached by Heywood-based charity Trewan Sands Children’s Trust with the offer of a free family holiday next year.

Michelle added: “The boys are excited for Christmas now because they know things are getting sorted.

“They understand a few things won’t be replaced, but what we have managed to replace we have.

“And they are over the moon about the prospect of going on holiday — it is something we have not been able to do for a few years.”

Louise Dawson from Trewan Sands Children’s Trust said: “I wanted to offer Reece and his family something to look forward to.”


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