Gift from Australia helps restore Hampshire OAP Leslie Parsonage's faith in mankind after mugging

Daily Echo: Cllr Glynn Davies-Dear (left) and cllr Andy Moore (right) present the donations to Leslie Parsonage Cllr Glynn Davies-Dear (left) and cllr Andy Moore (right) present the donations to Leslie Parsonage

HAMPSHIRE pensioner Leslie Parsonage will be celebrating the festive season surrounded by his family, with his faith restored in humankind.

The 95-year-old, who was left hospitalised after being mugged in a Hampshire shopping centre, has received an extra special Christmas gift from strangers as far afield as Australia, who were left outraged by the theft.

He was presented with £235 in cash, cheques and vouchers from generous strangers who wanted to make sure that the festive season was not ruined by the callous thieves who robbed him of his wallet, containing £450, earlier this year.

The money was handed over by the Hampshire county councillor for Eastleigh East, Andy Moore, who set up an account for people to make donations.

One of the donations included a £50 John Lewis voucher from Pam and Kevin Biles, who live in Australia, but having read about his ordeal online, felt compelled to offer their help.

Leslie said: “It is amazing that someone as far as Australia has been so generous. I don’t really understand and I am very surprised but I am very thankful.”

As previously reported, Leslie was targeted by a woman in Fryern Arcade, Chandler’s Ford, who distracted him as she snatched his wallet with his pension inside.

The widower used to make the trip to the post office a couple of times a week on his own, to get him out of the house, but since the theft in September, he has been too nervous to make the journey alone.

This latest donation comes after staff at the Fryern Arcade Post Office organised a fundraiser and thanks to the generosity of customers, they raised more than £500 in just two weeks, which was handed to the pensioner.

Leslie’s great-niece Sharon Leggett added: “Times are tough, especially at this time of year, so to have people, many of whom are strangers, be so generous is amazing. It has really restored all our faith in humankind.

“We really would like to thank everybody who has been so kind, with donations and best wishes, and would like to let them know that Leslie has made a full recovery and will be enjoying Christmas at home, surrounded by his family.”

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