Couple replace cash stolen from church collection box

The money was taken from a collection box at Dornoch Cathedral in Sutherland.

Dornoch Cathedral: Stephen and Jayne Pagan with Rev Susan Brown. Church of Scotland

A couple left shocked by a theft at their local church weeks have replaced the money stolen out of their own pockets.

About £350 was stolen from the collections box at Dornoch Cathedral in Sutherland, which was broken open during the incident on Friday.

The cash had been collected by parishioners to pay for repairs to the church hall.

After hearing about the theft, Stephen and Jayne Pagan decided to step in.

Mr Pagan said: "I felt a huge pain in my heart when I heard what had happened.

"It was almost like someone had died because this kind of thing tends not to happen in Dornoch.

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"It was gut-wrenching really and we couldn't believe that someone would steal from a church at Christmas which is a time for giving - not taking."

The couple decided to donate the money partly in memory of Mrs Pagan's sister Sonje, who died earlier this year aged 50.

Sonje, who had Down's syndrome and advanced dementia, regularly attended the church.

Reverend Susan Brown, moderator designate of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland, said: "Stephen and Jayne did so much to involve Sonje in everything and they gave her so many experiences that many with her condition might not ordinarily have.

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"They are a special couple, but what makes the gift extra special is the thought of it coming in Sonje's name too. Sonje loved this time of year especially."

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