Burglary victim, 99, off on holiday of lifetime after readers raise £2,300

Ham&High reporter Imogen Blake and editor Geoff Martin present 99-year-old burglary victim Edith Sel

Ham&High reporter Imogen Blake and editor Geoff Martin present 99-year-old burglary victim Edith Sell with the donations raised by readers. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

A 99-year-old burglary victim left penniless when bogus callers ransacked her home will now enjoy a holiday she will “never forget” after Ham&High readers pulled together to raise nearly £2,300.

Retired waitress and cleaner Edith Sell told the paper last month that she would be unable to afford even a cup of coffee on her annual pre-paid trip to Norfolk following the burglary at her Dartmouth Park home.

Her heartbreaking story moved readers to donate £2,295 in just three weeks after the Ham&High launched a crowdfunding campaign to recover her life savings.

On being presented with the money by editor-in-chief Geoff Martin on Tuesday, an overwhelmed Mrs Sell said: “I never thought anything like this would ever happen.

“I never knew there were such good people about. I don’t know how to thank all those who were involved.”

Widow Mrs Sell lost about £4,500 of money and jewellery when thieves posing as workmen plundered her flat in January, stealing six weeks worth of her pension and the £900 she had saved for her holiday.

The incident left her barely able to afford her annual two-week retreat to the Norfolk resort where she has stayed every year since 1947. But when she spoke out for the first time about the terrifying incident last month, readers immediately stepped in to make sure she could holiday in style.

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From sums of £5 to £500, dozens of readers from across north London and further afield wrote cheques and donated online to an appeal on the Crowdfunder website.

Mrs Sell will use some of the money to treat herself to a new watch after the burglars stole her old one, enjoy a few games of bingo, and cover the cost of transport to and from Norfolk.

“They took everything and what they didn’t take, they broke,” Mrs Sell said of the burglars. “Now I will have nothing to worry about, and my holiday will be a free holiday. It’s all thanks to the Ham&High and all the helpers. It’s a holiday I will never forget.”