A family has hit out at ‘low-life scum’ who stole cash from a fundraising night for their stillborn baby’s headstone.
Sam Bennett says her family is now desperate for the culprits to be caught after it was estimated up to £300 was taken during the event at the Sunnydale pub in Mansfield Woodhouse on Saturday night.
The furious 47-year-old had arranged the event to help raise enough money for her granddaughter’s grave.
Auriana was delivered stillborn on December 9.
The all-ticket fundraising event, which included entertainment, a raffle and auction, had been a success until the thief snatched the wallet, bursting with generous donations, at around 9.30pm.
The wallet was found the next day under a table and the notes had been taken.
CCTV from the pub also failed to identify the culprit.
Sam, of Audrey Crescent, Mansfield Woodhouse said: “We had a fantastic night at the fundraiser for Auriana only to be spoilt by some thieving low-life scum who pinched the fundraising money.
“I put my heart and soul into this, the community got behind it and the place was rammed.
“Luckily I had the foresight to bring home the money that was raised in the first part of the night, that was over £400.
“I’m so thankful I brought that home.
“We looked high and low for that wallet, we scoured the pub from top to bottom.
“What gets me is that everyone knew what we were there for.
“I wanted it to be a big success, we wanted everyone to get together as a community and prove that we do care.”
Sam, who works for Mansfield District Council, said her family’s world was turned upside before Christmas when doctors told her 24-year-old daughter Lauren that there was no heartbeat detected from her unborn baby.
She was 36-weeks’ pregnant at the time.
Lauren, who already has one child, was given a pill to bring the pregnancy to an end and was forced to go through labour to deliver Auriana.
“We’d all hoped it was a terrible mistake up until the last minute when she was born,” said a tearful Sam.
“Lauren has been through an awful lot, it’s been very traumatic.
“It’s been very hard, and the hardest thing is that people say that life goes on, but for us it has stopped.
“We were hoping that the fundraiser could have helped us move on, but whoever took this money has prevented that.”
Sam took to Facebook immediately after Saturday’s event to express her anger, and the support has been overwhelming with hundreds sharing their story and scores leaving comments condemning the thief.
Local businessman Paul Pearce, who runs PPX Metal Management Ltd, even agreed to match the amount of money that had been raised in the first part of the night - £400.
The total now stands at £1,700 which has exceeded their initial target.
The family will now look to buy the princess castle headstone Lauren wants for Auriana’s cemetery plot.
Sam added: “My faith in humanity has been restored thanks to Paul, it’s so nice of him to do that.
“But I still want whoever took that money to be caught and let everybody know who would stoop so low.
“Somebody has got to know something, somebody will slip up and say something.
“The money is inconsequential because of the generosity of Paul and everybody else, but I still want them to be caught.”