A SIX-year-old girl has been left distraught after thieves stole a bench placed in memory of her great-grandma at a Nelson care home.

St Paul’s School pupil Ella Lord sold friendship bracelets to help fund a dementia-friendly ‘reflection garden’ for the residents at Andrew Smith House after the death of her great-grandma Phyllis, who was cared for at the home.

Ella’s mother Kelly Lord said: “Ella was very fond of her great-grandma Phyllis and used to visit her in the home every single day.

“After visiting her one day, she said to me, ‘Can I sell my toys for pennies to make grandma Phil better’?”

“I explained to her that pennies wouldn’t make grandma young again but that we could collect some money for the garden so that grandma had somewhere nice to go and that other people like grandma could use.

“When I heard that someone had stolen the bench, I just couldn’t believe it. I think it’s disgusting.”

Ella began collecting in October and raised £200. She has since raised a further £150 and was due to present a cheque to the home this week.

Val Lawson, manager at Andrew Smith House, said that staff first noticed the bench was missing on Monday morning. She said: “We think someone has entered the grounds on Sunday night and taken it.

“They’ve also damaged one of our other benches but it was bolted down so they couldn’t get away with it.

“We have been working hard to create this garden so that it is dementia-friendly and a place for all our residents to come and enjoy.

“We had hoped to launch it officially in August and we’re hoping that this will not delay us.

“Ella is such a generous and kind little girl and we were so grateful for the money she raised. She is so sweet and this theft has left us all feeling downhearted.”

Police are investigating and ask that anyone who saw anything suspicious to contact them on 101.