A GRATEFUL father is making a donation to his son’s school after thieves twice targeted minibuses, causing pupils’ activities to be cancelled.

Jon Goodchild's three-year-old son Ethan has Down's syndrome and a rare form of epilepsy.

He started attending Samuel Pepys Special School in St Neots a few months ago.

His parents say that prior to his time at the school, Ethan was very nervous around other children but is now making friends and learning valuable new skills.

So when Mr Goodchild read in last week's Hunts Post that thieves had broken in to the school twice in a week and stolen fuel from its minibuses, he decided to make a contribution to help cover the costs.

Mr Goodchild, who lives at Squire Court, Eaton Socon with his wife Sophie, Ethan, and eldest son Oscar, seven, said: "Ethan started a few months ago and it has been fantastic, second to none.

"We were nervous letting go of him at first but they're saying he is loving it and has made lots of new friends."

The family had wanted to thank the school before they heard about the theft, and the incident gave Mr Goodchild the chance to help out.

"The first I heard of it was when I picked up the paper on the way to work," he said.

"It's awful. It really tugged at the heart strings, especially having a son at the school and knowing the great work they do."

Mr Goodchild showed the paper to his father-in-law and employer at GAP Home Improvements Paul Watts, and they decided they would make a contribution to the school from the business.

Mr Goodchild, who works as a sales manager, said: "We're only talking about £300 but we wanted to do something to say thank you. They've had to find that money from somewhere."

The school also received another donation in the wake of the thefts.

Headteacher Mandy Green said: "We've been very touched by the thoughtfulness of local people and parents who have contributed.

"We weren't expecting or asking for anything, but we really appreciate the gesture."

n A 39-year-old St Neots man has since been charged with two counts of theft in connection with the incident. Lee Andrews of Duck Lane is due to appear at Peterborough Magistrates' Court today (July 11).