RUNNERS raising money in memory of a Bournemouth schoolgirl are fighting back against heartless thieves who stole a collection box.

Family and friends of Connie Moore fear their appeal lost hundreds of pounds when thieves walked out of Bournemouth’s Flirt cafe bar with the money.

But they have vowed to try even harder to raise funds to tackle the deadly disease which killed the 16-year-old.

Connie, a talented singer who was due to take GCSEs this summer, died in January just two days after completing mock exams.

A team of 28 runners will now take part in The Bupa London 10,000 on May 25 to raise money for the Meningitis Research Foundation(MRF).

Lyndon Duyley, one of Connie’s best friends, came up with the idea. He said: “All of Connie’s friends have been utterly devastated by her death.

“We needed to do something positive in her memory and decided on the run. So far we have raised around £8,000 and we hope these funds will go some way to bring an end to others’ suffering.”

Connie’s aunt, Sam Moore, added: “Our beautiful and inspirational Connie lost her very short battle with meningitis at the age of 16 and was taken far too soon.

“Our lives are never going to be the same but if we can stop other families having to face the pain we are, by raising money for research and raising awareness of this terrible disease, then some good will come out of our devastating loss.”

Christopher Head, Chief Executive at MRF, said: “We are extremely grateful to Team Connie for putting together such a huge team of runners in her memory.

“Sadly Connie’s family and friends know better than anyone how quickly this disease strikes and the devastation it leaves behind.

“The money they raise will make a huge difference and enable us to continue our work into the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia.”

To sponsor Team Connie please visit the website: