A cafe van owner has said he has been touched by kind customers who have been coming to his aid after his business was ransacked by burglars.
David Leonard opened Nana Ruth’s Kitchen on a lay-by at the Rudgate Crossroads near Tockwith at the end of November but his business dreams were left in tatters when he was broken into last Thursday night.
“They broke through the security perimetre and smashed through the back door and stole equipment, charity money, the generator and basically just ransacked the place,” said the 29-year-old who dedicated the business in memory of his treasured grandmother Ruth Harrison of Boroughbridge.
David, who lives in Knaresborough, added that he put the cost of the damage and theft of stock to about £1,000 which put his new venture in doubt.
“Because I am a new business, most of the money goes back into buying stock and I didn’t think I could afford to set up again. I thought I was going to have to close.”
But customer Nathan Merryweather, 24, on hearing of David’s plight, set up a Justgiving page to raise the cash.
Connexions bus driver Nathan, who has been calling daily at Nana Ruth’s from day one, said: “David has put all his money and heart into opening this business.
“As his business is new, he is only just starting to break even. When I spoke to him after it had happened he thought that would be the end of it.
“I asked if a grand would cover restarting and set up the fund. That was last Friday night.”
The fund has already gained nearly £600 and Nathan added: “There are some very nice people out there and we want to prove that the bad people cannot win.”
David, who had previously been a chef, added: “Nathan is an absolute star. The response has been amazing.
“A guy in Wales saw it and I went down at the weekend to pick up a generator from him. The response has been heart-warming and not just from my regular customers.
“I thought that was the end of my business plans. My aim is to eventually get my own restaurant.”
A major concern of David’s is to replace the money, about £95, from the charity tins which were for Cancer Research UK and Macmillan in memory of David’s grandfather Peter Nicholson of Boroughbridge who died last year after battling cancer.
“Every time I sold something, a percentage goes in the cancer charity pot,” added David, who has been spending the last few days clearing out the mess in the hope of opening up next week.
“Some of the money donated to the page will go to replacing that.”
The JustGiving page is at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/nanaruths