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Community rally round to support Ipswich's La Tour Cycle Café after burglary on owner's birthday

PUBLISHED: 18:34 21 June 2016 | UPDATED: 18:50 21 June 2016

Anna Matthews, holding the red tandem bike that has been vandalised, with husband Cliff.

Anna Matthews, holding the red tandem bike that has been vandalised, with husband Cliff.

A fundraising appeal has been launched to buy CCTV for a much-loved community café in Ipswich that was burgled on the owner's birthday.

Thieves forced their way into La Tour Cycle Café in Tower Street between Friday night and Saturday morning and stole £100 from the till.

Owner Anna Matthews had celebrated her birthday on Friday and said she had been touched by all the gifts and well wishes she received from customers.

The weekend before the burglary the café’s iconic red tandem bike that dates back to the First World War and once sat at the front of the building was destroyed beyond repair.

Mrs Matthews said she was “absolutely gutted” by what had happened.

La Tour donates its space to dozens of support groups, charities and community campaigners every week.

“I don’t pay myself, I pay everyone else who works for me,” Mrs Matthews added. “It’s really tough, we do a lot of community engagement work with Suffolk Refugee Support, Suffolk Young Carers, we have a maternity clinic, a smoking clinic, we have really lovely people who come here and use the cafe and then one individual comes in and tries to spoil that.”

After hearing the news of the break-in, customer Leah Hurd set up a page on Go Fund Me in a bid to raise £1,000 to fund CCTV for the venue in order “to ensure the café remains safe and a place for all”.

Mrs Matthews said she was “overwhelmed” by this gesture of support.

She added: “That’s an amazing thing and makes me feel like what we have created here is appreciated and loved by everyone who uses it.”

Despite suffering a series of knock-backs, Mrs Matthews said she was not going to let that stop her from providing a space for the community to come together and enjoy.

“I’m going to keep going,” she said. “To have your own business you have to be robust, you have to take these things and learn from them and clearly we need to be more on top of security but I’m not going to let it spoil what we have created here.”

To donate, visit: www.gofundme.com/2a5d72c

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