Poppy seller ‘gutted’ by theft of husband’s last Valentine’s gift

Poppy Appeal collector Daphne Snowden believed she had her handbag, hat and scarf stolen. Photo by Derek Martin Photography.
Poppy Appeal collector Daphne Snowden believed she had her handbag, hat and scarf stolen. Photo by Derek Martin Photography.

A popular poppy seller in Littlehampton said she has felt ‘gutted’ by the theft of a treasured gift from her husband which he gave her shortly before he died.

Daphne Snowden first noticed that her bag, brown leather gloves and scarf were missing when she was raising money for the poppy appeal on Armistice Day at Sainsbury’s in High Street, Littlehampton.

DM17112551a.jpg Poppy Appeal collector Daphne Snowden with her volunteering recognition award. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-171114-181957008

DM17112551a.jpg Poppy Appeal collector Daphne Snowden with her volunteering recognition award. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-171114-181957008

The belongings cost £250 – but the sentimental value of her Liberty London camel-coloured scarf is priceless. She said it was a gift given to her by her ‘beloved’ Len during their last Valentine’s Day lunch together before he died of cancer in July 1992 aged 98 after 40 years of marriage.

She said: “He put it around my neck and said ‘that will keep you warm darling.’

“He was a wonderful man.”

Daphne reported the theft to the police and has been searching for it ever since. She said: “I felt absolutely gutted; I’m not a careless person.

“I have had my house upside down and back again just to make sure I didn’t have it here. It was so blooming cold last week so I tried to wrap up and keep a smile on my face.”

She believed the thief may have stolen her belongings from the back of her wheelchair while she was distracted selling poppies.

She has tried to look on the bright side: “I know what was in my bag, and they will be awfully unlucky because there was only a pad and pencil.

“My purse, card and money was strapped under my shirt.”

She added: “If it was a man who stole it he’ll smell very sweetly of Chanel No 5. My Len loved it and he never let me wear anything else.”

If anyone finds the scarf and Daphne’s other belongings, please drop it off at the Sainsbury’s reception desk.

Daphne started selling poppies when she was 11, and recently received a certificate for 65 years of service from the Royal British Legion.

She said: “Doing the Poppy Appeal doesn’t appeal to a lot of people, but it is a very satisfying job. It is the privilege of meeting so many people across the divide, a diversity of people if you like.

“It makes you realise you might think you have problems, but you haven’t got any.”