A CHILDREN’S charity has been left reeling after thieves ransacked its new shop in Royton just hours after its opening party.

Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice hosted an opening celebration at the shop in Oldham Road on Saturday with a pop-up tea room, games and Easter-themed activities.

But the celebrations turned to heartbreak that night when thieves vandalised the retail unit, smashing glass windows and doors, damaging internal fire doors, pulling a safe off the wall, and stealing around £500 of takings and float money.

Pamela Gray, shop manager, said: “I was absolutely gutted. It has upset us all.

“They made such a mess. I do not know why they do it.

“They had kicked doors through that were not even locked. They caused more damage than what was necessary.

“They must have used strong force to break through the fire door. They ripped the safe off the wall. The shop looked a complete shambles.

“We had worked so hard to get up and running for the opening that day.”

Ms Gray and her team, including assistant manager Jan Wild, worked on Easter Sunday to get the shop back normal.

Ms Gray said: “We did not want to lose a day of trading. We thought they had taken enough.”

Despite the setback, the charity shop has been doing “incredibly well.”

Forget Me Not is a charity providing care and provision for children with life-shortening conditions across Oldham, Rochdale and Bury.

Kirsty Franks, general manager of the charity’s Radcliffe hospice, Grace’s Place, said: “Understandably we’re all shaken up by the break-in that took place over the weekend. The team worked so hard to put on a really fun opening event, and it’s heartbreaking that the weekend, which was supposed to be a celebration and bring local people together, was ruined in this way.”

Ms Franks said: “I’m extremely proud of our staff and volunteers for pulling together to make sure we could open as planned this week.

“More than ever, though, we need the support from the community. As well as donating quality, unwanted items such as clothes, books, toys, household items and furniture, we’re asking people to please stop by at our new shop to take a look and buy some of the great stock we have.

“We’re so close to opening the doors to our new children’s hospice, but we need to raise as much money as possible to make sure we can help the children and families in North Manchester who need our care and support.”

A GMP spokeswoman said: “Our investigation is ongoing.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting incident number 711.