A handbag containing a cherished love letter that was reported stolen in Christchurch has been recovered

An appeal was issued after 84-year-old Cathy’s handbag was stolen while she was shopping at Waitrose in Christchurch on the morning of Monday 11 September 2017.

The handbag contained her late husband’s birth certificate and passport, marriage certificate, £200, purse and other personal items.

It also contained a love letter which her husband, Nigel, had written to her more than 30 years ago as well as a photograph of him. Sadly Nigel died from cancer in March 2014 aged 74.

Following the appeal, a member of the public found the handbag near to The Priory in Christchurch and handed it in to Bournemouth police station yesterday, Monday 25 September 2017. All the contents were inside, apart from the £200 cash.

Cathy said: “When I heard they had found the bag I couldn’t get there quick enough.

“I looked inside and everything was still there apart from the money. The money wasn’t important to me, I just desperately wanted to get the letter back.

“I’m over the moon and I sat and read the letter before I even left the police station.”

Police Constable Jackie Kearle, of Dorset Police, said: “We would like to thank members of the public for their amazing response to this appeal as well as the person who found the handbag and handed it in.

“We are delighted that Cathy has had the letter and other personal items returned to her.”

Anyone with information as to how the handbag came to be in the area near to The Priory is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55170141361. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.