- Local councillor sets up crowdfunding page to help business owner get back on her feet after florist is burgled and broken into twice.
- More than £250 raised in 24 hours.
- Leech: "Together we have shown that community spirit always triumphs."
True community spirit has triumphed in Didsbury after donations flooded in to help a local business owner re-open her shop. Gemma's Floral Boutique was the latest target in a pre-Christmas crime spike in South Manchester.
The independent florist, owned by Gemma Gill, was burgled late last week and then broken into on Tuesday night. The shop was trashed with months of work being destroyed and hundreds of pounds worth of damage.
Commenting on the recent spike in crime in South Manchester, former Manchester Withington MP, John Leech said: "I am really gutted and upset to hear about Gemma's Floral Boutique being broken into. It was not long ago that I was at the opening of the florist with Gemma and the team, and there were such high hopes for the business."
Burglars kicked the back door down before smashing the cash till and taking all remaining money. Not satisfied with that, they then took large bouquets that had been made to order for Christmas parties and local funerals. The damages total more than £500.
With no insurance, large amounts of money stolen, a completely trashed shop and over half her stock taken, Gemma struggled to see a way to open up over the Christmas period.
John Leech, who was the MP for the local area from 2005 until 2015, set up a crowdfunding page to help the business owner re-open her local shop, and called on local residents and businesses to give what they could.
The former MP turned local councillor, John Leech, said: "Gemma's florist was an exciting addition to South Manchester, and it was really sad that someone would do something like this just days away from Christmas, but I was rightly confident that our community would come together and give what they could to get Gemma back on her feet."
It has been just 24 hours since Mr Leech started the crowdfunding page and already more than £250 has been donated from local residents and fellow business owners, with many more pledging support online.
Local councillor John Leech added: "I know how tight money is at Christmas, but I also know how devastated Gemma was ,and together we have shown that our local community spirit will always triumph."
The owner of the burgled florist, Gemma Gill, said: "I just don't know what to say. I really didn't expect this, I know money is tight for everyone at Christmas time.
"Thank you to everyone who has donated or helped in any way, and especially to our local councillor John Leech for stepping in and setting this up, you went way over and above the call of duty.
"I have been so upset all of yesterday and today; dealing with police, putting my shop back together again and to see this is just overwhelming. You have all made me smile again, so thank you."