Community rallies to replace stolen charity cash

Brooksteed Alehouse manager John Azzopardi, third right, at Worthing Scope's Fitzalan Howard Day Centre
Brooksteed Alehouse manager John Azzopardi, third right, at Worthing Scope's Fitzalan Howard Day Centre

Charity money stolen in a raid on a micropub has been replaced – and increased – thanks to the community rallying round.

Staff at Brooksteed Alehouse, in South Farm Road, Worthing, were devastated when the £305 raised for Worthing Scope was stolen, along with the micropub’s float and the till iPad.

Suppliers and customers were quick to respond, with Cellar Head Brewing Company donating a cask of raspberry wheat beer for sale so the charity cash could be replaced.

Brooksteed manager John Azzopardi said: “It was very generous. The brewery just saw our post on Facebook – it was completely unsolicited.

“Thanks to the generosity of our customers and the brewery, we have raised more than was originally taken for Worthing Scope, a cerebral palsy charity.”

A total of £405 was raised through sales over one weekend and on Wednesday, John visited the Fitzalan Howard Day Centre, in Pavilion Road, to deliver the money.

Jo McCaffrey, community liaison worker at Worthing Scope, said: “John and the team were clearly devastated when they contacted me to say the money they had raised for us had been stolen.

“I was sad, not just for the vital funds we had lost but for the slap in the face this was to local community that provide us with so much support.

“From the moment of the break-in, the Brooksteed team were adamant that they would raise the money again, and that local children and adults with a disability would not lose out because of thieves.”

The original money was raised through an innovative advent calendar raffle, which saw the Brooksteed give away prizes every day in December in the lead up to Christmas Day.

John and his husband Aaron Burns, who owns the Brooksteed, have created a thriving and community-minded micropub since they took over the reins last April, including supporting several charities and organising a Christmas market for the parade.

Aaron said the burglary was a shock but it was a wake-up call to improve security.

He said: “How friendly Worthing was to us maybe lulled us in into a false sense of security.

“Because the community here is so close, we didn’t think it would ever happen to us. We know our regulars and know how they have supported us.

“The response was nice because it reaffirms to us that the community is strong. The majority of the community are with us and always have been.”

Sussex Police said burglars broke into Brooksteed Alehouse, in South Farm Road, Broadwater, Worthing, overnight between Sunday, January 7, and Monday, January 8, and stole an iPAD, £200 cash from the till and money collected for charity.

Anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious, or who may have other relevant information, is asked to contact police online at or phone 101, quoting serial 0466 of 08/01.