Charity Director Offers His Burial Fund for Forklift’s Return

Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society via Wikimedia CommonsThe director of a UK charity that aids Romanian orphans has pledged the money he has saved for his own burial as a reward for the return of the charity’s stolen forklift.

Rod Jones, founder and director of Convoy Aid, said that he has saved about  £2,000 — the equivalent of about $3,006 — to pay for his funeral expenses. But he was willing to part with of the money if it means getting back a forklift that is critical to the organization’s mission.

“I’ve got just over  £2,000 saved up for my funeral,” Jones told the website Gazette Live. “That’s my life savings. I’ve buried 24 years of my life into this so I’m prepared to offer £2,000 to anyone who can help us get our forklift truck back.”

Vehicle Used to Aid Romanian Orphans

The theft occurred sometime between December 10 and January 2 at the headquarters of Convoy Aid, which is based in Stockton. The vehicle, which was valued at $10,586 was stolen along with several other items. Volunteers at the charity used the vehicle to load trucks with shoe boxes filled with toys donated by British schoolchildren and sent to orphanages in Romania.

Jones said he was desperate to get the forklift back because without it, his charity might now be able to continue its mission. That’s why he is willing to empty out his life’s savings.

“It’s just about everything I’ve managed to save,” said Jones. “Somebody out there must know where the truck is. They can get in touch very privately either through the police, Crime Stoppers or by contacting me directly.”

Burglars Raid Charity’s Warehouse

Thieves apparently sawed through a chain and padlock on the gate to the charity’s warehouse, then forced open to large doors, police said. Once inside, the stole the six-ton forklift, as well as a large compressor, an electrical generator, and some tools.

Jones said that while the theft of the forklift was a setback, but it wasn’t going to stop him from continuing to try to help orphans, even if less aid can be supplied as a result.

“With extreme work we might be able to get the boxes filled and put on the pallets, but then the wagons will come,” Jones told the Northern Echo newspaper in early January. “But we just can’t give up. We can’t let these people win. There’s people who need us. e had a small charity, getting the right amount of aid to the right people. We’ll have to scale down, but we can’t give up.”

The forklift had been “sold” to the charity for the nominal sum of a few pounds by the Linde Forklift company. It replaced another forklift that the company had lent to the charity on a regular basis.


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