FUNERAL cash collected in memory of a 26-year-old who collapsed and died at his Wearside home was stolen during his wake.
The thief took the money as friends and family said a final goodbye to Jamie Brown after his sudden death.
Jamie’s devastated sister, Helen, 25, said: “I don’t know how anyone could have done this. The money was going to be used to help our mum with the funeral expenses.”
Jamie, known to friends as Ducky, had been playing football for his local Sunday league team when he returned to his Washington home on March 24, where he collapsed and died.
The Brown family have been left shattered by the unexplained death of a seemingly fit and healthy young man with his whole life in front of him.
Helen, 25, said: “Everyone knew him. He was a popular and lovely guy. There wasn’t a bad bone in his body.
“He was also the best brother in the world. We were so close to each other. I still can’t believe he’s gone.”
After his funeral, a wake was held for Jamie, who had a young daughter, at the Top Club in Washington, where friends passed around an envelope as a collection in his memory.
Helen said: “We think there was about £150 in there, but it went missing and has never turned up.”
The former Usworth School pupil was a big football fan and, as well as Helen, was brother to Laura, 23, and Liam, 18. He lived with his partner in Albany, Washington.
Helen said: “Every time he walked through the door, it would brighten my day. All our family have been left heartbroken by what’s happened. We were all so close.”
Now, in an effort to replace the money that was taken, Helen and friends of Jamie are planning a sponsored walk tomorrow from the Stadium of Light to St James’s Park.
Helen added: “Jamie loved football, so we thought these location were a good idea. We just hope that whatever we raise can help with the funeral expenses.”
Friends from across the Washington will join the charity walk.