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Locals rally after box theft

A community angered by the theft of an EB collection tin in memory of a 22-year-old teaching assistant have raised almost £200 for the charity.

The box was taken from the counter of Bargain Booze, in Blackburn, an off-licence where Matt Boardman worked part-time before he died.  The theft, which was recorded  on CCTV, prompted widespread publicity in both national and local newspapers. It also sparked a campaign by local people to replace the estimated £80 collected in the tin.

Family friend Karen Wright placed the box in the store shortly after Matt’s death. “I think the theft just incensed people, not only because it was from a charity, but because it involved someone they knew and liked.  “Matt was a close friend to all the staff and well known in the area – his death in February was a complete shock to us all.
“But since the box went missing, a person went into the school where Matt worked and donated £80; my cousin saw what was happening via Facebook and donated £20, and the owners of Bargain Booze want to present a cheque for £80. I’ve also had requests for two more EB collection tins.”

Matt was found in bed by his parents on February 1 when they went to wake him to go to watch Blackburn Rovers play Newcastle United at Ewood Park.  He was a qualified sports coach and worked as a teaching assistant at St Alban’s primary school in Blackburn.

Karen, a senior staff nurse at a private hospital in Blackburn, said she had known Matt’s family for 30 years, and has already raised £300 for EB by making and selling Christmas and birthday cards.  

A man and a woman have been arrested on suspicion of theft.