Charities rally around after puppets used to help children are stolen

PUBLISHED: 08:26 09 July 2018

Jill Comfort with the donated puppets. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Jill Comfort with the donated puppets. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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A play therapist from Saffron Walden has thanked charity shop staff for their ‘incredible kindness’ after they helped replace some of her 60 hand puppets which were stolen from a community centre in London.

Jill Comfort, who has lived in Saffron Walden for the last 12 years and works in London, said: “I am a play therapist working with groups of siblings who can’t live at home and I use puppets to help the children explore and consider their sadness and future possibilities.

“Just recently my bag of nearly 60 puppets was stolen. I was heartbroken so I spoke to local charity shops to ask if they could keep any incoming puppets for me.”

Jill received a call last weekend from two of the charity shops telling her that they had a collection of puppets for her.

“The kindness of the St Elizabeth’s shop staff was incredible, along with my friend in Oxfam. They put out a call to all their shops and gathered hand puppets as quickly as they could for me.

“They even told me ‘we’re going to get you puppets even better than the ones you had before’.”

St Elizabeth’s stores in Braintree and Hoddeston sent some of their hand puppets to the Saffron Walden shop after a message was put out on the charity’s WhatsApp group requesting the puppets.

“The puppets are more than central to what I do. The children use them to express their emotions,” Jill said. “How wonderful to live in this thoughtful, proactive and caring community. What amazing people.”

The manager at St Elizabeth’s charity shop in the town, Katherine Bowyer, said: “This is one of the loveliest requests we’ve had and we’re so thrilled that we could help her. It’s so nice that people help us but we can also help them.”

Jill has received around 12 puppets from the charity shops but she is hoping to replace her collection of 60.

If you have any spare hand puppets you would like to donate to Jill and the children she helps, call 07531 789 822 or drop them into St Elizabeth’s charity shop or the Reporter’s office.

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