THE despicable thief who stole a poppy tin could learn a lot from caring Marley Haggan.
For while the crook was snatching the money box from a Greggs bakery in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, Marley was busy collecting hundreds of pounds from shoppers.
The kind-hearted 10-year-old gave up most of his half-term holidays to help out with Hartlepool’s Poppy Appeal.
In just two days he collected £1,000 for the Royal British Legion fundraising campaign.
He offered to give up his free time after Hartlepool Sea Cadets, which he is a member of, supported a collection the previous weekend.
He has spent four days this week with Hartlepool Poppy Appeal co-ordinator Sian Cameron in the shopping centre.
Sian said: “The sea cadets were collecting for the Poppy Appeal and afterwards Marley asked me if he could come back next week and help.
“He was waiting for me on the first morning at 9 o’clock.
“Then his mam texted me to say he wanted to come back again the next day.
“He is just a pleasure to be with, he is really enthusiastic and I think that rubs off on people. Everybody comes away from the stall laughing.
“He is so well mannered and the feedback from customers has been fantastic.
“I think it is just so nice in this day and age that he has given up his time so freely.”
Marley’s mum Nicola Haggan, 38, of the Fens, Hartlepool, was equally proud of his efforts.
She said: “We are really, really proud of what he has done.
“He is a caring little boy and his granddads were in the Army so it is something that is close to his heart.
“He is just so enthusiastic. He has given up quite a lot this week like going on trips out with the family, but he offered to go down to the town instead to help with the appeal.
“He has really enjoyed it.”
Hartlepool’s Poppy Appeal last year raised an amazing £40,000 in Hartlepool to support the work of the Royal British Legion.
That includes supporting injured troops and their families, campaigning to improve the lives of all service people and upholding the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Sian, who took over the appeal following the death of her dad Ian Cameron in 2010, added: “Fingers crossed we will do as well this year. I will work as hard as I possibly can to try and beat last year’s total.”