The people of Mansfield and Ashfield are ‘utterly amazing’.
So says Stuart Bowley - a relative of the Edwinstowe pair who suffered a horrific early-morning break-in earlier this week at the house they share together.
This follows on from a campaign, in which kind-hearted people from across the region put their hands in their pockets to help pensioner John Bowley (71), and his mum, May Bowley (93), who had almost £1,500 stolen from them in a terrifying attack at their home, near Ollerton Road, in the early hours of Wednesday morning (15th July).
He also praised Chad for highlighting his relatives’ plight.
Chad published an online article describing how John was sleeping, on the morning of his 71st birthday, when two men bust into both his bedroom, and the bedroom belonging to his mother, and demanded money whilst flashing torches into their eyes.
Mansfield 103 radio station picked up on the story and lauched a campaign to replace the money they had lost and by 10am, they had already received £1,600 in donations, as well as hundreds of messages of support across Facebook and the Chad website.
Nephew and grandson of the pensioners, Stuart Bowley (34), has been in touch to say that the complete strangers that have chipped in to help his family are “utterly amazing”.
He said: “I was in floods of tears when I found out.
“It’s just unreal that people who don’t even know my family have done this.”
Stuart said that he and the rest of the family were overwhelmed with the generosity and added: “I only got in touch with the Chad because I care about my family and just want the scumbags caught - I wasn’t expecting any of this.
“I called the Chad and within minutes, they had sent a reporter out to my grans house and what’s happened since is just incredible. I really am just lost for words.”
“I want to thank everybody from the bottom of my heart.”
Tony Delahunty, managing director of Mansfield 103, described the campaign as a “spur of the moment” decision on their breakfast show.
He said: “Obviously we can’t do anything about what has happened to them but it just shows what can happen when a community pulls together.”
John, who broke down in tears describing the robbery, said: “I was trembling I was so nervous. I told them I had no money and went downstairs with them and saw that everything was on the floor.
“And my bedroom looked like a bomb had hit it.”
Neither John or his mother own a mobile phone and the only landline was by the front door, which they couldn’t get to because of the burglars.
Eventually the attackers found the cash, which they had saved for a new carpet fitting later this week, and stuffed it into a pillow case which they took from May’s bed, before making their escape.
Several neighbours saw the offenders running out of the property but did not see where they went to.
The attack has also left relatives shocked.
On the day of the attack, Stuart said: “I want the scumbags caught. It has just upset me that somebody can come into a house and do this.
“My uncle just had to sit there while the men just moved it all.
“I can only hope that they are not going to come back again.”
The donations first came in this morning from staff at Mansfield 103 and Edwinstowe Cricket Club, but by the time the breakfast show was over, more than £1,000 had been brought in by the general public and several organisations had offered their services.
Some of those who called in to pledge cash were former miners from Thoresby Colliery who lost their jobs last week when the pit closed.
A local security company has also offered to make their home more secure.
Matthew Gaunt, managing director of Geostream Solutions Ltd Mansfield, who donated £500 to the appeal, said: “We know we can’t put things right for the couple, though we wish we could. We just hope that it will help them to move on from this awful incident.”
Nottinghamshire Police are still asking for any information relating to the incident and have released a description of the two men - who were both wearing masks with their faces covered.
A spokesperson said that both men are aged between 30 and 40, and about 6ft tall. One is of thin build, and the other medium.
The man of medium build man was wearing a dark-coloured jacket.
Police are urging anyone with information to contact them by calling 101.
Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.