War vet­eran’s life sav­ings re­stored af­ter big ap­peal

Crowd­fund­ing site on­line helped 91-year-old bur­glary vic­tim

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - by Kather­ine Clemen­tine kather­ine.clemen­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A SEC­OND World War vet­eran wept tears of joy this week af­ter he was handed a cheque for £5,030 to re­place his life sav­ings, which were stolen by a bur­glar.

Lionel Lake, 91, was dev­as­tated af­ter dis­cov­er­ing his nest egg had been taken from his home at St Catherine’s Farm Court, in Howletts Lane, Ruis­lip.

But af­ter an in­cred­i­ble com­mu­nity fundrais­ing cam­paign, in which well­wish­ers from as far afield as New York flocked to a crowd­fund­ing page set up for the great­grand­fa­ther, the lost sav­ings were re­placed and the ex­cess do­nated to Mr Lake’s cho­sen char­i­ties.

Sup­port­ers gath­ered at the East­cote Royal Bri­tish Le­gion on Satur­day to ap­plaud the D-Day vet­eran who moved the room to laugh­ter and tears dur­ing his thank you speech, in which he re­called how a lit­tle boy had do­nated his pocket money to help.

He said: “I keep ask­ing, ‘have they got the right bloke?’”

Mr Lake shared war sto­ries with an en­thralled au­di­ence of around 100 peo­ple, as the event co­in­cided with VE Day cel­e­bra­tions.

De­scrib­ing the D-Day land­ing as “fairly hec­tic” he said: “A lot of peo­ple are not aware that most of the troops that took part in the in­va­sion were ‘green’ troops and had never been into ac­tion be­fore.

“A lot of them were as sea­sick as dogs and then you’re ex­pected to fight.”

The fundrais­ing web­page was the brain­child of Alan Palmer, ad­min­is­tra­tor of the Face­book-based Crime Aware­ness Group for the Ruis­lip and East­cote Area, and the page was set up by Sam Tay­lor.

Mr Palmer said: “In 1944, Lionel took Nor­mandy, and the thought that some­one could rob his house and take his life sav­ings is sick­en­ing.

“We’d set up the page on Wed­nes­day. Within an hour we’d raised £285, af­ter a day we’d raised £4,000. Af­ter three days the fig­ure had gone up to nearly £6,000, and we’ve ended up not far off £7,000.”

Coun­cil­lor Catherine Dann, pres­i­dent of the Royal Bri­tish Le­gion’s East­cote branch, pre­sented cheques of £500 each to Help for He­roes and the Royal Bri­tish Le­gion’s Poppy Ap­peal.

A group of Lionel’s fam­ily mem­bers came to sup­port him and were over­whelmed by the com­mu­nity ef­fort.

Grand­daugh­ter Sally Fitzger­ald, who came with her two chil­dren, said: “I know my grand­dad is

lovely and all my fam­ily do and now you all know. Ev­ery­one has been so kind and amaz­ing and we’re go­ing to re­mem­ber this ex­pe­ri­ence for ab­so­lutely ever and ever in our hearts.”

The whole func­tion room at the RBL East­cote branch re­sponded with cheers and a sing-along of For He’s A Jolly Good Fel­low.

As an ex­tra sur­prise, lo­cal busi­nesses con­trib­uted to a raf­fle which raised a fur­ther £345.

Mr Palmer pre­sented the amount to Mr Lake, to im­prove se­cu­rity at his shel­tered hous­ing flat.

He joked “Lionel, please don’t keep any more money in the house!”

GRAT­I­TUDE: 91-year-old D-Day vet­eran Lionel Lake with fam­ily mem­bers af­ter a crowd­fund­ing group raised enough money to re­place his life sav­ings, which were stolen

Photo by Grant Humphreys www.buyapho­totms.co.uk

DEV­AS­TATED: Lionel and his grand­daugh­ter Sally Fitzger­ald, shortly af­ter the bur­glary

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.