LARNE Oxygen Therapy Centre has been “overwhelmed” with support from the local community after heartless crooks stole hundreds of pounds worth of heating oil from the premises.
Thieves drilled three two-inch holes into the storage tank, broke the lock and made off with about 700 litres of oil. The culprits also stole diesel from a generator.
The centre in Magheramorne, which offers oxygen therapy to people who suffer from a range of conditions, relies on charitable donations to keep it going.
Centre manger Vickie Shaw said she had been “disgusted” by the theft and wondered how anyone could “sink so low”.
“It is hard to believe that someone would steal oil from a non-profit-making organisation that helps ease the suffering of people who have physical and neurological disabilities, including those with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, and cerebral palsy.
“It is vital that we have a supply of heating oil, as the people we treat here need to be kept warm so that they can stay mobile. Our finances come from the kindness of local people who donate and raise funds for us, which makes this theft all the more shocking.”
But Vickie was delighted by generosity of local residents who rallied around to help the centre in its hour of need.
David Baird of True Colours, Whitehead, donated a new tank for the centre, while David and Jean Magill of Ballygally Holiday Apartments contributed 1000 litres of oil.
“We were simply amazed by the response from the local community and how quick they were at lending a helping hand. It just shows that there are still plenty of good people out there,” Vickie added.
Mulhollands of Larne Funeral Directors also pledged a donation of £100 to the centre, and the Thatch Bar contributed a further £1000.
The Oxygen Therapy Centre will be holding a coffee morning and craft fair to raise more funds on Saturday, November 26, at the Old Presbyterian Church of Larne and Kilwaughter from 10am-2pm.