A COMMUNITY whip round after a burglar stole money for children with Down Syndrome has raised five times the amount.

Beth Trenerry, 32, was devastated when an intruder broke into her home and stole keys to husband’s Audi, along with £300 in cash.

The money had been raised through ticket sales for a charity night at Together 21, which is based at the Pioneer Care Centre in Newton Aycliffe, and supports families of children with Down Syndrome.

The family were in bed at the time of the burglary at their home in Delves Lane, Consett, in November.

Kind-hearted members of the community organised an online fundraiser to replace the stolen money and collected £1,500.

Mrs Trennery said: “I did not even know half the people who were donating. “People were just saying the wanted to help out. It was a lot more than we expected, that’s for sure.

“Local people I don’t even know stepped up to raise money. Someone at Morrison’s raised £75 and another girl’s mam made some cakes.

“It has been really good. It is has been really positive.

“From the small minority of people who might have planned this burglary at our house, and the one who came, there have been so much who have stepped up and helped. It shows caring and kind people can be.

“It was silver lining on what happened.”

The banquet event at Derwent Manor Hotel, near Consett, which featured a Christmas market and included a three course meal, band and DJ, raised over £3,000 in total.

Mrs Trenerry, a florist, attends Together 21 on Fridays with her baby daughter, Luna, and has made friends with other parents of children with Down Syndrome.

The group helps each other overcome some of the challenges they are facing by raising a child with complex needs.

Mrs Trenerry said: “When I first had a child with Down Syndrome I knew nothing about. I did not even know anyone with Down Syndrome.

“The group is my lifeline. Meeting the parents of other children has been really important. The people that run the group started it up because they have children with Down Syndrome and they have got years of experience.

“I needed to learn how to help her as much as possible when she was a baby so I can help her in the future, the physio aspects, the speech and language. You do not realise how much you can do with a baby.

“Because of how much they helped me, I wanted to help them as well, to give something back and that is how the charity night came about.”

Police are continuing to investigate the break-in and the family’s Redmire Drive home, during which Mrs Trenerry’s husband, Neil, also lost his Audi A3.

She said: “It was bad enough losing the car, and when I realised the ticket money had gone too, that when it really hit us. The response has been overwhelming. One bad thing happened but so much more positive things have happened as a result.”