A FAMILY is facing double devastation after thieves once again snatched cash dedicated to the memory of a schoolgirl who died of cancer.
Zara Fort’s loved ones have been collecting funds which will give children facing illness a chance to enjoy breaks at a holiday park.
The five-year-old, from Washington, died last March after a two-year battle against a rare form of the disease which caused a tumour to grow on her spine.
Now, as her family prepare for the first anniversary of her death, they have been left distraught after funds donated by supporters were stolen for the second time in just a matter of weeks.
Last month the Echo reported how a cash tin was taken Jan’s Place cafe run by Zara’s grandmother during a day of busy business.
This week thieves smashed a window of the empty unit next door and forcing their way through an adjoining door.
The glass bottle put on the counter was smashed on the ground outside, with the notes and silver coins taken and copper left behind.
A tip box for staff containing around £30 and the till float was also swiped.
Jan is also facing a repair bill running into hundreds of pounds and says no cash will be kept in the Waterloo Road cafe in future.
Zara’s mum Julie Klein, 36, said: “The bottle had £20 and £50 notes in and it was full.
“I think this is more heartbreaking because of the fact it could be someone we know.
“It can’t be some random person, because it has to be someone who knows how they could get in.
“I feel mortified. For it to happen again, I think it’s absolutely deplorable.”
Jan Klein, 54, who runs the cafe, added: “I just can’t believe it.
“The customers are devastated, because many of them put money in.”
The family has offered a £200 reward for information leading to the arrest and charge of the thief.
Northumbria Police are investigating and have asked anyone with information to get in touch.
Meanwhile, Julie, who is also mum to Terri-Leigh Spencelayh, 17, Brett Spencelayh, 15, and Kati-Lea Casey, 10, and her friends and family are preparing for a charity event at the White House bar in Blackfell on Saturday, February 22, which will be held to mark what would have been Zara’s sixth birthday.
Princess Zara’s Getaway, the fund set up in her name, aims to raise £120,000 to cover the cost of a lodge at Haggerston Castle holiday park, which will be used by families whose children are being treated at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Tickets for the next fund-raiser are £3 from the cafe, the venue or by calling 07721 941 830.
Northumbria Police can be called on 101 or Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.