An elderly couple has been inundated with hundreds of goodwill messages and kind offers after sharing a plea to help find a stolen purse on their Instagram account.
Geoffrey Walker, 89, and his 87-year-old wife Pauline, from Leicestershire, describe themselves as ‘an old English couple living the best life together in footsteps of faith’ on their page, which was originally set up to keep in touch with family but now has more than 125,000 followers.
On Sunday, Geoffrey shared a heartbreaking video featuring his wife Pauline crying.
He explained: ‘Someone’s stolen Pauline’s purse while she’s been shopping in town. They’ve tried to use a card but the banks stopped all the transactions. Now she’s very upset, if you find a purse...it’s got phone numbers in of the children and everything. The money will be gone but she’d like the purse back.’
After the video was posted, it was viewed almost 300,000 times and an online campaign began to find Pauline’s purse.
One person wrote: ‘My whole family has been discussing this. Our hearts broke watching Pauline cry. Hugs and much love from us. ❤️❤️❤️’
Another added: ‘I'd give anything to be able to give you the biggest hug right now. There are some evil people out there, but there are more good people!’
The pair received thousands of messages of support, with offers of replacement purses, and had to issue an apology explaining they were unable to reply to everyone.
The fact that she’s really upset and crying makes me sad. Some will say it’s just a purse but it really has her upset.
— PrettyBrownBrown (@JKRenee) February 9, 2020
Geoffrey wrote: ‘Thank you for the hundreds of goodwill messages for Pauline. We have tried to read, or at least acknowledge most of the messages but unfortunately some will have escaped our attention. Thank you all so much for your kindness towards us.’
They were also invited on to ITV’s This Morning on Tuesday, where Pauline explained how the incident happened.
She said: “I went into the cafe and had a bit of something to eat and drink. They took my food to the table but they hadn’t got my drink. I went to the counter - and left my walker, which I shouldn’t have done - and I think that’s when my purse was stolen.”
In reference to the huge online reaction, the pensioner continued: “I was really surprised, I couldn’t believe what good friends we’ve got. I was offered so many purses! I’ve also had a bouquet of flowers as well delivered.”
However, the original purse still remains stolen and its whereabouts are unknown.
Can we pitch in as a community to buy her the nicest purse ever? Because they seem like a sweet old couple. I’d love to help. My grandma is long passed & my grandpa is dying right now. The one thing I’d like to do is help a couple like how my grandparents helped me.
— Youthgirl 08 (@youthgirl08) February 9, 2020
Geoffrey said: “We’ve really moved on from that now, we don’t dwell on negative things too long. We like to present a happy face.”
The couple, who have been married since 1951, were then invited to play a special game of spin to win on This Morning and took home £1000.
Pauline looked stunned before exclaiming: ‘Oh thank you very much!’