BUSINESSES are helping Pickering Cancer Drop in Centre to raise funds through a raffle after burglars broke into their premises, ransacked offices and stole hundreds of pounds from the Tunbridge Wells charity.

Managers at Cook, the gourmet frozen food shop based opposite the centre in Monson Road, organised the initiative to help replace the losses.

Polly Taylor, Co-founder of Pickering, told the Times she felt ‘overwhelmed’ at the ‘good will’ after several more firms pledged gifts for the raffle.

Pickering helps around 3,000 people a year whose lives have been touched by cancer by providing counselling and help with everyday problems, like arranging transport to appointments.

Volunteers

The charity is run entirely by volunteers who on New Year’s Eve found the fire safety window had been smashed and that collection tins had been taken.

Ms Taylor said it was unusual for the charity to have money on their premises and that they were able to continue their service immediately.

She added: “The raffle came about because of the burglary between Christmas and New Year which left us heartbroken.

“Cook store manager Julia Palmer and assistant manager Finn Haynes are friends of ours and asked if they could hold a raffle for us.

“They got other businesses involved and they have been overwhelmed. We have also been overwhelmed at the centre itself with people telling how sorry they were and offering to do what they can to help. It has shown me how generous people can be and that something good has come out of this.”

ASK, Lakeland, Sainsbury’s and Sankey’s are among the businesses that have put forward prizes for the raffle, for which tickets are now on sale costing £1, which can be bought inside Cook.

Town MP Greg Clark is set to draw the winning ticket on Saturday, January 27, at 3pm inside the shop.