BlackmoreVale Magazine readers have rallied round to help a Stalbridge pensioner after hundreds of pounds and a cherished photo went when his wallet was stolen.
John Osborne, 87, was devastated when he realised the theft meant he could not hold a once-in-a-lifetime party to thank his friends and family for all their love and support.
His black leather wallet had contained around £660. He was planning to hold the surprise party at The Swan in Stalbridge.
The wallet also held his favourite photo of his late wife, Queenie, taken about 50 years ago.
But help has come forward from readers who saw the story in last week’s Blackmore Vale Magazine.
Teresa Down said she and her colleague Mary Haimes at Stalbridge Laundry in Shaftesbury decided to help make up Mr Osborne’s loss.
Manager Vicky Matthews backed them by agreeing to a fundraising non-uniform day.
Miss Down said: “The thought that this man is 87 and lost all that money - we wanted to chip in a bit each and help make it up for him.”
Rex James, a musician from Bruton, said he was moved to make a donation of £50 after reading the story.
He said: “I have worked as a carer and I know how important it is to elderly people in receipt of care and kindness to be able to thank people.
“I hope there are enough good people in this area to chip in and make up the lost money and a bit more for him.
“It would help restore his faith in human nature.”
A woman from North Cheriton sent a donation of £30 after reading the story.
She said: “I think if enough people did that he would get his money back.”
Mr Osborne’s daughter-in-law Sharon said: “It’s absolutely fantastic what people are doing.
“I am overwhelmed by it.
“This theft knocked John back hard and this will really cheer him up.”
She said the Swan had offered its function room for free and Else’s butchers in Stalbridge had promised to donate party food.
Mrs Osborne said: “It’s not how John planned to do the party but it’s still going to happen because people have been so kind.”
She added: “All the family are looking back through old photos now to see if we can find a similar one to replace the stolen one.
“It’s certainly looking better for him this week.”
Donations can be made by cheque made payable to J. Osborne and sent to Dee Adcock at the Blackmore Vale Magazine office, High Street, Stalbridge. We will be happy to forward them to Mr Osborne.
Police inquiries into the theft are continuing.