Mini-Me’s grand gesture!

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HOLLYWOOD movie star Verne Troyer - best known for his role as Mini-Me in the Austin Powers films - has shown he is a small man with a massive heart.

Verne sent “a substantial sum” to the Ballymoney charity Compass Network Advocacy which fell victim to burglars last month.

There was widespread outrage at the theft of over £1,000 from the body which caters for over 200 local people with learning disabilities.

Before Christmas Verne visited Northern Ireland and Compass sent a number of young people to meet him in Belfast.

Some local kids exchanged contact details with Verne and have been in contact with him since via Facebook and Twitter.

And it was through this contact via social networking sites Verne heard of Compass’ plight.

So taken by the work they do he sent a personal letter to the Ballymoney office of Compass - and a cheque to help cover the money lost in the burglary.

Speaking to the Times, Janet Schofield from the charity said staff were blown away by the gesture.

“The letter came last Friday,” said Janet.

“There was also a cheque although Verne asked us not to disclose how much he had sent but we are absolutely delighted.

“We had no idea he knew about the money being taken but apparently he has kept in contact with some of the young people through Facebook and Twitter.

“He said in the letter he didn’t want the children to be doing without and he thought what we do here is excellent.”

Ballymoney businesses have also chipped in to help replace the money.

Flash in the Pan made a donation last week and Oscar’s Kitchen also donated.

Oscar’s has a donations box in place too with customers offered the opportunity to drop 50p in when purchasing food.

The bulk of the cash stolen from Compass last month was money raised for Children in Need by young people who use the charity’s services.

The money taken had been raised by a youth group at Compass Advocacy Network called Project S.Inc which caters for young people aged 12 to 18 with a range of learning difficulties.

It was the proceeds from fundraising events including a pub quiz and raffle at Ballymoney United Football Club, a Cupcake Day and a member of staff having his head shaved.

Compass Advocacy Network is a registered charity employing eight staff and approximately 25 volunteers.

Around 240 people access the services the body provides on a regular basis.

When they heard of the break-in kind-hearted officials from Ballymoney United immediately offered to throw an event to help replace the money that was taken.

A date for the fundraiser has yet to be announced.