HEARTLESS thieves stole hundreds of pounds from a dad trying to raise money for a charity that supported him while his young daughter was in hospital.

David Myers, who lives in Ladygrove, was devastated to find out that two of his charity tins for Wessex Heartbeat had been stolen from The Ladygrove Pub in Didcot and The Fox in Steventon.

The 39-year-old plasterer said he owed a lot to the charity after it provided him with a place to stay while his daughter Poppy-May underwent heart surgery at the baby unit at Southampton Hospital in Hampshire.

He said: "I was really upset when I found out this had happened, I do not understand why someone would do that.

"Wessex Heartbeat really looked after me at a time when I was just broken.

"My daughter was born in 2011 and had trouble with her heart and at the time the Oxford specialist baby unit was shut, so she was rushed to Southampton.

"There wasn't space for me to stay on the ward and I had to be put up in a charity-run house just outside the grounds."

Mr Myers believes that the tins were stolen in mid-May and he was not the only fundraiser to suffer.

He added: "I hadn't been to the pubs for a while and went in a week or two ago and was told the tin had been taken with a load of others they had alongside the bar.

"One of them would have had well over £100 in from tickets for a 100 square treasure fundraiser we held.

"I know its not the pubs' fault at all but I was really angry when I found out someone had done this."

Despite the setback Mr Myers is determined to raise as much money as he can for the charity.

His efforts will culminate in a 87-mile bike ride across the Ridgeway at the end of July to coincide with his 40th birthday.

He added: "Me and three of my friends have been training for this since January.

"It means so much to me to be able to give something back to a charity that did so much for me.

"That is why I was so upset when two of the tins were stolen."

This is not Mr Myers' first fundraising effort, as he has already raised £1,200 for the charity after he held a charity disco and raffle at Milton Football Club.

Spokesman for Wessex Heartbeat Ken Wilde said: "It is very important for Wessex Heartbeat to have supporters like David to help raise funds for the charity.

"The charity is in its 25th year this year and has raised more than £15 million during this time.

"Part of the fundraising goes towards running Heartbeat House, a 27 bedroom house where families of patients can stay while their relative is in hospital.

"David used the house while his daughter was in hospital and I believe found this facility so helpful during a very concerning time."

Mr Wilde said it was 'very sad' to hear that some of the money had been stolen as funds raised from the public are used to enhance the quality of treatment for patients suffering heart problems and to ensure the house is up kept for relatives.

He added: "We wish David the very best of luck in his Ridgeway Challenge and very grateful for the support he gives to the charity."

Police could not confirm the dates of the break-ins and both pubs were contacted for comment.

For more information or to donate visit http://bit.ly/2tfr7gT