THE Herald and other well-wishers have rallied to support the family of Marc Bannister, 38, who died of cancer last week, two days after a Christmas fund for his five children was stolen from Folly Hill Post Office.

A total of £140 was snatched by a youth from a collection point at the post office's front counter, but since then contributions have been pouring in to ensure that the youngsters do not miss out on gifts.

According to Merryl Baker of the post office, £450 has so far been donated by residents and friends touched by the story, and many have been angered by the callous theft.

She said the response to the appeal had been "fantastic,". The post office will be raffling a huge teddy bear on Saturday to gain even more funds.

The Herald has also stepped in, pledging to replace the stolen money.

Overwhelmed by the response, Marc's wife, Sue, said: "People have been so good about this, and all the money will be going to the kids.

"It is unbelievable. I would like to thank everyone, friends and family and colleagues, who have been very supportive.

"I believe Marc is looking down on us knowing that our children will have some extra presents this year."

Funeral directors H C Patrick, who made the arrangements for Marc's funeral this week, are also giving £50 for the children.