NHS staff ‘saved Christmas’ after cleaners conned out of £4k by boss

Sabrina Wilson, Lorna Bell, Michelle Douglas, Louise Ross, Louise Scott, Tracy Sword, Wendy Bell, Andrea Riggans, and Emma Gourlay, outside Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court on the day of Bow's sentencing.
Sabrina Wilson, Lorna Bell, Michelle Douglas, Louise Ross, Louise Scott, Tracy Sword, Wendy Bell, Andrea Riggans, and Emma Gourlay, outside Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court on the day of Bow's sentencing.

A group of NHS staff who were conned out of thousands of pounds by their own supervisor have thanked all the doctors, nurses staff and patients who helped save Christmas with a fundraising campaign.

Sharon Bow told nine Kirkcaldy cleaning staff in January last year she would take payments for a Christmas savings scheme with a well-known hamper company.

We all got a brilliant Christmas thanks to the NHS. It’s restored our faith in people.

Louise Ross

However, despite making around £4000 in payments to her throughout the year, the staff grew suspicious in late November, and after calling the company they were shocked to find that no payments had been made in their names.

Bow was charged by police in early December pending a court appearance, but meanwhile the victims were left with no money just before Christmas.

But unknown to the group, NHS staff started a campaign to raise funds, and in just ten days they were repaid in full, a moment which victim Louise Ross (47) says brought her to tears.

“We were so humbled, because at Christmas time everyone struggles,” she said. “For that hospital to come together for us, it was just amazing.

“I’ve never cried so much in my life, and it’s happy tears. It was really overwhelming.

“We all got a brilliant Christmas thanks to the NHS. It’s restored our faith in people.

“For one bad apple, there’s 200,000 good.

“On Christmas day we were all on a group chat, saying ‘happy tears’, but we never mentioned her name because we wouldn’t let her spoil our Christmas.”

Louise says Sharon Bow, her supervisor, first recommended entering the saving scheme last year.

“Nine of us agreed, so we all started paying her in January.

“We made all our payments, then by December 1 a couple of staff had called the company to find that she’d registered all nine names but had never paid a penny, not even in her own name.

“We tried to contact her and got no answer so the company told us to go to the police.

“I’d paid £440, expecting to get that back in December, and got nothing. Others paid up to £500.

“We worked with her every night, so we didn’t think there was any problem.

“She’d been a supervisor for a while. Some of us had known her for years.

“If you can’t even trust a supervisor that you’re going to every day, who can you trust?

“You read about things in the paper but you don’t think it could happen to you.

“She was chasing us up for payments. We got paid on Thursday, and if she didn’t have it by Friday she’d be quick in texting us to ask about it.

“She sent someone to my dad’s door for money when I was looking after him when he was dying of cancer.

“It would have hit others worse who had younger children at Christmas.”

Louise says the group were taken by surprise by the drive to raise funds for them.

“Karen Goldie, Martin Kopal and Jean Smith set up a funding page – we didn’t know about it,” she said.

“The whole Victoria Hospital and Whyteman’s Brae, within 10 days had managed to raise £4,000 so we could get our money back.

“Everybody just pitched in. They were giving donations, raffling things off, and every one of us got all our money back the Friday before Christmas.

“I want everyone to know what the NHS did for us. You’re talking nurses, doctors, patients, the lot.

“We got our money back but not from her.

“We’ve all said that if she did pay us back now, we’d give it to charity.”

Sharon Bow appeared at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court and pleaded guilty to a fraudulent scheme.

She was sentenced to a community payback order of 200 hours unpaid work within 12 months, with the supervision order running for 18 months.

Detective Constable Sean Martin of Kirkcaldy CID said: “Sharon Bow abused her position of trust to take money from her own colleagues.

“She then callously continued, for almost an entire year, to steal her coworkers’ Christmas savings.

“I was pleased to hear that money was raised for those who were defrauded, thanks to the kindness of staff at the Victoria Hospital.”