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Zelley jewellery store owners compensate elderly wheelchair user from St Elizabeth's for money stolen while she was Christmas shopping in Bishop's Stortford

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A Bishop's Stortford jeweller's shop has reimbursed a disabled woman in her 80s after a thief stole her money from the back of her wheelchair while she was out Christmas shopping with a carer in the town.

Martin and Philip Zelley – whose Market Square business FJ Zelley was the victim of a distraction theft the next day in which an £825 bracelet was stolen – were appalled to learn the vulnerable victim, who lives at St Elizabeth's, the centre for epilepsy sufferers, had been targeted so they offered to replace the money.

They met up with Jo Gill, St Elizabeth's marketing and communications lead, at the charity in Perry Green, near Much Hadham, for the handover and have set up an online appeal to raise £500 for it in the run-up to Christmas.

Jo Gill, of St Elizabeth's, accepts the cash from FJ Zelley owners Martin and Philip Zelley (53800853)
Jo Gill, of St Elizabeth's, accepts the cash from FJ Zelley owners Martin and Philip Zelley (53800853)

Philip Zelley said: "We popped up there after work one evening and St Elizabeth's were very pleased, while Martin and I were really happy to do it.

"We set up a fundraising page too because a couple of people had mentioned they wanted to chip in. It's hopefully a little bit of extra money to go towards the charity."

On November 25 a purse snatcher grabbed a bag containing £120 from the back of a wheelchair as a woman in her 80s was browsing with her carer in discount stationery and games shop The Works in Potter Street.

St Elizabeth’s, which cares for epilepsy sufferers and those with other complex needs, said that the pensioner – a resident in one of its adult bungalows – had taken £80 to buy Christmas presents. Two other residents, a man and a woman, had given £20 each to staff to buy items for them from the town.

Kat Pulford, community fundraising manager at St Elizabeth's, said: "We're so grateful for their kind donation and our residents were absolutely delighted."

The charity has its own Christmas fundraising appeal at https://www.stelizabeths.org.uk/get-involved/our-christmas-fundraising-appeal/.

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