Yesterday (15th July), Chad reported that thieves had broken into the home of John Bowley and his mother, May , in the early hours of his 71st birthday and stole around £1,500 in cash.
After reading the article this morning, local radio station, Mansfield 103, started a campaign to raise money to replace what they had lost - and by 10am, they had already received £1,600 in donations, as well as the hundreds of messages of support across Facebook and the Chad website.
Tony Delahunty, managing director of the station, 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 was sleeping in his home in the Ollerton Road area on Wednesday morning (15th July) when two men burst into both his bedroom, and the bedroom belonging to his elderly mother May Bowley, and demanded money whilst flashing torches into their eyes.
John, who broke down in tears explaining what had happened, 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 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.
John’s nephew Stuart Bowley (34), 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.
“We are all so shaken up and upset - especially on my uncle’s birthday.”
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.