THIEVES swiped a charity box from a house decorated with festive lights intended to raise money for sick children.

Brian Strong's Christmas displays raised hundreds of pounds for the Children's Ward at the Royal Berkshire Hospital for a decade.

He sadly lost his battle to lung cancer two weeks before Christmas in 2015, but his family decided to continue the tradition in his memory.

Generous donations had been coming in for the display on Wheble Drive in Woodley for several weeks before thieves stole the charity box before Christmas Eve.

Susan, his sister, says she will continue to run the appeal, but she felt sad to think someone could take the money.

She said: "I was very disappointed. This is the first time something like this has happened. It was shocking to think someone could do something like that.

"I was upset because people have been good enough to put money into the box for charity, but now half of the money has gone."

Mr Strong's granddaughter was born with her brain outside of her skull and so he decided to use his fondness for the festive season to raise funds.

"People always look forward to the Christmas lights and we get a lot of nice comments," she added.

Reading Chronicle:

"A lot of people did not think I would be able to carry on putting the lights out, but I said I wanted to do it for Brian.

"It is what he would have wanted. He loved Christmas and I will carry on doing the appeal even after what has happened.

"The police have said that they are not able to do anything because it was dark and there were no witnesses."

Anyone who wishes to donate to The Royal Berkshire Hospital can post money through the letterbox.

A spokesman for Thames Valley Police added: "The theft has been reported to us. The charity box was fixed to a gate post.

"The charity box was stolen sometime between 9pm on December 23 and 8am on December 24.

"Anyone with any information is urged to call police on 101 and quote reference 43170380568."