Charity bike riders appeal to thief’s conscience after collection goes missing

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A married couple preparing to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support are appealing for a thief to return a charity box after it was stolen from Milton Keynes Hospital.

Elly and Matt Cooper will cycle the 874 miles from the south west of England to north east of Scotland over 12 days next month and hope to raise more than £7,000 for Macmillan.

The charity helped support Elly’s mother, Julie Eldridge, after she was diagnosed with cancer of the uterus.

But the couple’s fundraising exploits have taken a dent after a box at the reception of Milton Keynes Hospital’s Physio Department, where Matt works as a physiotherapist, went missing last week.

“I can’t believe that someone would steal money from a charity – especially from the hospital – the collection pot was clearly marked,” said Elly, 32.

“We would like to appeal to the thief’s conscience to return the money anonymously through our Just Giving site.”

Elly and Matt, 33, say they have received fantastic support and generosity in the build-up to their almost 80-mile-a-day mission, but the theft of the charity box, containing an estimated £60, has left a sour taste.

However, it has made them even more determined to complete the journey and raise as much money as possible for Macmillan.

“The charity’s nurses were absolutely fantastic for my mother,” added Elly. “We wanted to give something back and thought this was a good idea.

“Neither of us were particularly keen cyclists before we started training, so it’s going to be an exciting adventure.”

If the person who took the charity box is reading, he or she can donate to Elly and Matt’s cause by logging on to