This year’s Ingleburn Alive wasn’t just another festival for eight-year-old Alexis Muir.
It was a chance to spend some hard earn cash at the stalls and rides.
For a month leading up to last weekend’s event, the Sackville Street Public School student had been collecting recyclables which she planned to cash in and use as spending money at the festival.
Two days prior to Ingleburn Alive, before she had the chance to visit a Return and Earn machine, Alexis’ collectables were taken from behind the front fence of her home.
Her mother Marie Muir confronted the culprit – who was identified by a neighbour – as she were cashing in the goods at an Ingleburn Return and Earn machine.
Police were called but were unable to resolve the issue – so it was left to the community to step in.
“In anger I took the thief’s photo and put it on a local community Facebook page,” Mrs Muir said.
“All I wanted was to let others know what this lady had done to a child and to try to prevent her from doing it to others. The response we received was overwhelming.
“We had a gentleman named Mark Douglas drive around the community in his car collecting recyclables for Alexis while others bought some (items) over as well.
“We also had some stall holders from the festival give her free items.”
The year 3 student said she was “heartbroken” to learn her collection of recyclables had been stolen.
But she had been buoyed by the goodwill of locals.
“I’d saved them for a month and spent two hours sorting them all out the day before,” she said.
“But I’d like to say a very special thank you to Mark Douglas for collecting donations for me, and to the stall holders for making me feel special at the festival.
“(I also want to thank) everyone who donated to me and said nice things to help make me feel better.
“What a great community we live in.”
Mrs Muir said she was still angry about the incident.
Though she was glad the story had a happy ending.
“My daughter learnt a harsh life lesson about what if feels like to have someone steal off you after you’ve worked hard,” she said.
“But on the other hand she learnt what it was like to have a whole community support her.”