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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Burglars strike as golden pair run marathon

THIEVES burgled the St Bees home of a couple in their 70s while they were away running the London Marathon to raise money for charity.

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post-marathon smiles: Chris and Charm Robson back home at St Bees after completing the London Marathon

The raiders got away with between £60-£100 in donated sponsor money as well as personal items belonging to Chris and Charm Robson, of High House Road.

Despite the theft, the couple will still have around £2,600 to forward to Alzheimer’s Research UK. And Swintons, their house insurers, have offered to make good the stolen sum.

Chris, 73, and Charm, 72, had decided to mark their 50-year golden wedding anniversary by taking part in the marathon and using the opportunity to raise money for a good cause. Chris’s mother, Honor, suffered with Alzheimer’s before she died.

While they pounded the streets of London alongside 37,000 thousand other runners, the news from St Bees came through.

Amongst stolen items was £60-£100 cash donated by well-wishers and supporters as sponsorship money. The rest had already been banked, or had been pledged online.

Also taken were two gold necklaces and a bracelet which had belonged to Charm’s grandmother and had sentimental as well as monetary value; three silver spoons and her laptop. The telephone lines had been cut too.

The burglary was discovered when a neighbour noticed a ladder had gone missing. She went to see if any other neighbours had also lost items and it was then she saw her own ladder up against the wall of the Robsons’ house, against a bedroom window. It is thought access had been gained via a cellar door.

Inside the thieves had rummaged about but “hadn’t trashed the place’’ said Charm.

“It was an old laptop anyway so they are welcome to it. I only used it for lecturing and had everything backed up on the PC. I am sad to lose the family pieces of jewellery though.”

News of the burglary was passed to Sam, the Robsons’ daughter with whom they were staying overnight at Twickenham.

Another daughter, Reswana Patterson, said the upsetting event had however highlighted the wonderful community spirit that exists in St Bees. “Everyone rallied round, it has been very heartwarming and the family are grateful.’’

Charm and Chris, who have five children and nine grandchildren, completed the marathon, beating times they had set themselves. Chris wanted to finish in under six hours and did it in 5hrs 44mins and Charm, who completed the run in 4hrs 45mins had set her target at under 5hrs 30mins. The couple have a passion for running but for Charm it was her first London Marathon.

“The crowd support along the route is wonderful,’’ she said, “with the whole 26 miles lined with people handing out sweets and fruit etc. We had our names on our vests and people were calling out ‘C’mon Charm!’’

Alzheimer’s fundraising manager Miranda Mays said: “Chris and Charm are an amazing, selfless couple. Instead of treating themselves for their golden wedding anniversary, they decided to run a marathon to raise desperately needed money for our pioneering dementia research.

“We were devastated to learn they’d been burgled while they were taking part. It says a lot that their first concern was the loss of any donations rather than their personal possessions and the violation of their home.

“We rely entirely on wonderful supporters like Chris and Charm to fund our world-class research; we hope the culprits of this heartless crime are caught soon.”

Ex-teacher Charm, took up running when she was 40 and, despite a minor stroke seven years ago, was determined to carry on. Chris, who was running his third London Marathon, is a retired physics teacher.

On Monday, the Robsons broke news of the weekend break-in on This Morning television programme during a brief interview with presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield.

Along with several other runners they were enjoying a therapeutic massage in the studio to ease their aching muscles.

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