A PUPIL'S amazing act of kindness sparked an avalanche of support for a school whose Poppy Appeal proceeds were stolen in a burglary.

The intruder who broke into St Stephen's CofE Primary School the day after Remembrance Sunday emptied cash from the Royal British Legion-branded collection tin. Besides also taking four staff laptops and two iPads, the thief left a costly trail of destruction and mess.

After headteacher Tony Lasan broke the news in assembly – describing it as his lowest ebb in his tenure at the school – pupil Alex Coston went home and raided his piggy bank in order to try to recoup some of the missing money.

The six-year-old handed over £8 and his actions proved the start of an outpouring from people from all corners wanting to financially help the school.

Mr Lasan said: "The gesture from Alex in Year 2 led to a lot more children coming in with their money boxes and coin jars, following Alex's example. Parents started a Facebook campaign to raise money and one parent organised a raffle and cake sale.

"The local church got in touch to say they would be holding a collection over the weekend and we'll be receiving the proceeds of that this week."

Mr Lasan said a neighbouring business in Bent Spur Road called Elite Greenhouses handed over a donation of £100 sourced through a whip round.

Complete strangers have felt compelled to chip in after hearing about the burglary and the selfless response of the pupils.

The headteacher said: "It struck a chord with the wider public.They felt moved to make a donation.

"We have had messages from people who are not even connected with the school."

Mr Lasan said although the school had not yet counted up how much it had received, the sum will eclipse the £50 the thief had taken from the Poppy Appeal collection tin.

It is hoped the total can be handed over later this week to the Royal British Legion.

Noel Spencer, president of the Farnworth and Kearsley branch, said: "It's a wonderful response, absolutely wonderful.

"The children should be immensely proud of themselves. They have done a terrific act."

Greater Manchester Police continue to investigate the burglary and have made no arrests.

The school tweeted: "We are overwhelmed and humbled at the concern and generosity shown by all following our break-in last week. Thank You."