'LOWEST of the low' thieves stole a charity box from the business of a Belbroughton family whose brave young son captured the area's hearts with his search to find a transplant donor.

The box held money that Jo and Paul Hill had collected for Birmingham Children's Hospital, where their eight-year-old son Finley underwent life-saving stem cell transplant surgery last year.

It was one of many things - including power tools and other cash - stolen from the Hills' plant nursery premises by the masked raiders at around midnight on Monday evening (November 23).

And while the majority of money they had raised for BCH was safely in the bank, the Hills could not believe someone would stoop so low as to steal a charity box.

Mum Jo said: "The tools are all replaceable but I just got really upset about them stealing the charity box - you've got to be the lowest form of scum to do that.

"I understand times are desperate, not that I ever think anyone should resort to stealing, but to take a charity box? It's the lowest of the low.

"We would ordinarily remove any monies when we close for winter but as Finn ended up back in hospital the week we closed it went out of our minds."

CCTV footage has been forwarded to the police.

The box was in the name of the Finn the Fabulous charity, which the Hills had set up to help families of children going through transplants, like Finley went through to treat rare immune disorder familial HLH.

They are dissolving that charity, aware of the financial constraints on so many people this year, but were going to give the money in the box to BCH instead.

Bromsgrove Advertiser: The Hill family after Finley rang the bell at Birmingham Children's Hospital to signify the end of his treatment earlier this year.The Hill family after Finley rang the bell at Birmingham Children's Hospital to signify the end of his treatment earlier this year.

"You don't realise the cost of going through a transplant," Jo added. "Anything that harbours bacteria in your home has to be replaced so we had to get a new carpet and sofa, things like that.

"Plus parents looking after these children might not have been working for years, so we wanted to set something up to help financially.

"But with what's happened this year, with people losing jobs, it's harder to ask people for money so we decided to close the charity and give the money to BCH, so families still benefit but in a different way.

"Thankfully we still have around £3,000 in the bank to give them but whatever was in that box would have been a bit more."

While Finley's life has begun to get back to normal - he's been back at school since September for example - the coronavirus pandemic has made 2020 perhaps even more challenging for the Hills than 2019.

Jo added: "The first two years are the trickiest anyway after a transplant and the donor had to give his cells again after Finley got a bit ill.

"If his drugs aren't high enough, he can lose cells but it they are too high, it can cause problems with other parts of his body, so it's a real balancing act.

"But he's doing really, really well although we will forever have our fingers crossed - and reaching this year feels like a real milestone.

"The pandemic was definitely scary in the beginning - we didn't even go to the local shop, we didn't go anywhere and anxiety was very high.

"When it first kicked off, Finn was in hospital battling viruses and it definitely felt safer at home. But in hindsight, lockdown gave him longer to heal."

Anyone with information on the theft should call West Mercia Police on 101.