A CHILDREN’S hospice has launched an urgent appeal after more than £5,000 of stock at one of its shops was wrecked by flash flooding.

Staff at the Chestnut Tree House shop in Hove were left devastated by the destruction caused by a freak storm on Monday morning.

The store raises much-needed funds for the hospice, based near Arundel, which cares for hundreds of children and their families across Sussex every year.

Shop manager Jade Hoskins walked in to discover the devastation.

She said: “I couldn’t believe it. I thought we might have suffered a bit but I didn’t imagine how much damage could have been caused. The water flooded in from the flat roof that was overwhelmed by the rain.

Staff and volunteers at the shop have been trying to protect the remaining undamaged stock and prevent it getting damp but thousands of pounds of donations have been lost.

The store in George Street will stay closed until the charity has repaired the damage and has enough new stock to sell.

Hospice director of retail Sally Brighton said: “To see our shop flooded with ceiling tiles on the floor and our donated stock ruined was devastating.

“A huge amount of effort and goodwill goes into processing the donations with much of the work carried out by loyal volunteers who are all, naturally, very upset at what has happened. We are doing all we can to get the shop open again as soon as possible and are truly sorry not to have been able to welcome customers and donors over the last few days.

“The loss of stock was enormous so we are really appealing to everyone to donate their unwanted goods to us to help us get back to where we were a few days ago.”

Staff will be at the shop in George Street from next week to receive donations, or items can be donated straight away to the Brighton shop in London Road, the Henfield store or the Worthing retail distribution centre.