The former Grange Hill and EastEnders star said he was shocked to hear about the vandal-hit group
Actor Sean Maguire has raised £4,000 for a help centre for disabled people that was hit by vandals.
Staff and volunteers at Disabled Action Self-Help (DASH), based at Blackwater and Hawley Leisure Centre, were left ‘heartbroken’ after someone ‘maliciously slashed’ the tyres to one of their buses. They were due to go on their Christmas meal at the Waterwitch pub in Odiham in December.
But kind-hearted Sean, best known in the UK for his roles in Grange Hill and EastEnders and who is now appearing as Robin Hood in hit USA series Once Upon a Time, has handed over the £4,000 he raised together with his wife, Tanya, whose cousin Sam is a regular visitor at the centre.
After hearing about the vandalism, Tanya and Sean decided to raise money for the centre.
Fans and friends generously donated to the appeal through an online fundraising page, while Tanya also organised a surprise birthday party for Sean, asking guests to donate to DASH instead of giving presents. They had soon raised more than £4,000 for the service.
Sean said: “Sam is my wife’s cousin, so this is very close to home for us.
“When we heard what had happened to the bus, we were shocked.
“We wanted to do something to help, and out of something horrible hopefully some good can come.
“It was really lovely of the fans of Once Upon a Time who chipped in and donated to this worthy cause.
“Tanya and I are really grateful to everyone who helped.”
DASH service manager Sauce Jennings said the money will go towards improving security at the centre.
“It was so nice for Sean and Tanya to take time out of their schedule to come down and present us personally with the money they have generously fundraised,” she added. “We are very grateful to them, and everyone who has donated, for their kindness.
“When our buses were vandalised and not working, we had no way of picking up or dropping home our centre users. Many people felt trapped at home because they rely on the centre to get out, meet friends and take part in games and activities.”
Run by the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability, DASH is an activity and skills group that supports disabled people in the area with a range of activities, including outings in its minibuses.
He said: “Leonard Cheshire Disability is doing great work for disabled people but it is really depressing that vandals have stolen from them meaning that they have had to divert time and resources to protecting their property from damage by criminals.
“I was delighted to meet Sauce and other members of the staff and volunteers as well as the local beat officer, who is doing her best to help.”