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Bury St Edmunds woman, 94, in plea for return of mementos of late husband after purse stolen

A 94-year-old woman whose purse was stolen while she was out shopping has made a heartfelt appeal for the return of personal items it contained including a photograph of her late husband and a card he made for her.

Barbara Tungate, of Bury St Edmunds, went shopping at Waitrose on Tuesday at 2.45pm but, at the checkout, discovered her purse was missing from her handbag.

Initially she thought she had left the large oblong shaped purse, containing a debit card, credit card, more than £150 and personal items, at home and left the supermarket, in Robert Boby Way, at 3.45pm to meet her friend.

Waitrose, in Robert Boby Way, Bury St Edmunds
Waitrose, in Robert Boby Way, Bury St Edmunds

When Mrs Tungate returned home, she couldn’t find her purse and had messages to call her banks. They told her about £80 had been spent on her credit card at 4.10pm and about £70 on the debit card.

“It was such a shock, I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I honestly thought I must have left my purse at home.

“It never entered my head when I went to pay that it could have been stolen. I’ve never had anything like that happen to me. It’s pathetic really, I can’t believe people would do that.

“I was in a bit of a state (on Tuesday) but I’ve calmed down now. I woke up at 4am just lying there trying to picture myself in the shop and if anyone came close to me but I couldn’t.”

Among the personal items taken was a picture of her husband of 43 years Ron, who passed away 30 years ago this month aged 63. The photograph of Ron was when he was about 19.

The purse also contained a card Ron made for her when she was very young with a heart on one side with his initial and a heart on the other side with her initial and a message underneath.

“The photograph and card have been in every purse for 30 years,” Mrs Tungate said. “It’s been all over the world with me. It means everything. I would love it back.”

Other items included her driving licence and a picture of her youngest granddaughter with her husband.

Mrs Tungate said she would be willing to issue a reward for the return of the items and urged the culprits or anyone who may find them to take them to Waitrose or Bury police station.

She praised Waitrose for their help.

Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting CAD 103 of July 22.

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