NURSERY children whose pet rabbit Sooty was killed and hung from a tree are to receive two new furry friends after well-wishers read about their heartache.

Thieves took the lop-eared Newfoundland rabbit from Cherry Tree Nursery, in Hartlepool, overnight on Monday (April 28).

Although youngsters at the nursery, who are all younger than five, were not told that their rabbit had died, they were still distressed to learn it had gone.

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Kind-hearted pet lovers have saved the day after reading about the nursery’s plight in The Northern Echo.

A Hartlepool mother is donating a rabbit to the nursery after discovering her son is allergic to it.

Meanwhile, the Clervaux Trust, near Darlington, is to donate a rabbit and hutch, as well as inviting the nursery children and staff for an outing at its 100-acre eco farm.

Nursery volunteer Kelly Graham said: “Acts of kindness like these restore a bit of faith in humanity and show how many people out there do care.

“It has reminded us that there is some good in the world, as well as the bad.”

The rabbit from the Hartlepool mother is being delivered to its new home later on Thursday (May 1), while the children will be presented with their new pet from Clervaux Trust staff during their visit later this month.

Vikki Lazenby (correct) is residential manager at the Clervaux Trust, which offers volunteering and employment opportunities for young people and adults with learning disabilities.

She said: “I read about what happened and thought it was absolutely atrocious, so we have invited them along for an afternoon.

“The children will have a chance to see the animals, play with them and we will present the children with a rabbit afterwards.

“After what happened, we just thought it would be nice to do something for them.

“The nursery staff were very grateful, they were saying how distressing it was, what had happened, so they were pleased to accept our offer.”

Police are investigating Sooty’s death and anyone with information is asked to call PC Anthony Wallace, on the non-emergency number 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800-555-111.