A SIX-year-old girl who was left “heartbroken” when her purse was stolen has had the smile put back on her face by generous Ashbourne Facebook users.
Grace Wastow and her family were staying at Callow Top Holiday Park in Sandybrook over the bank holiday weekend and were looking forward to the highlight of their break - a trip to Alton Towers, where Grace was planning to buy a souvenir from CBeebies land.
On Saturday evening they decided to pay a visit to Benny’s Pizza and Kebab in Compton, as her father, Daniel, had been there many years before, and remembered it being the “best pizza he had ever tasted”.
While they were waiting for their meal, Grace put her purse down on the counter but, when she went to get it again, it had disappeared.
Her mother, Melanie, said she was very angry and upset when she realised her daughter’s purse had gone missing. She said: “It was obviously a child’s purse as it was a pink, sparkly Hello Kitty one.
“She cried the whole way back to the holiday park and kept talking about what had happened for the next couple of days. She was really devastated by it all.”
Grace had been saving up her pocket money, and added spending money given to her by her grandfather.
Melanie said: “I'm not sure about the exact amount of money Grace had in her purse – but she was very excited about spending it at Alton Towers, so you can imagine how upset she was afterwards.”
Melanie posted an appeal on Facebook page, Ashbourne sell it, swap it, buy it, and within an hour member Craig Stewart had organised a whip-round to replace the money.
Craig said: “I am a big fan of the film Pay it Forward, and knew my daughter would be very upset if this happened to her, so suggested that we could all do something so the young girl and parents didn't have a bad memory of their time in the Ashbourne area.
“It was nice that so many decided to go along with the idea and it actually worked.”
Sadly the family returned to their home in Walton on the Naze, in Essex, before the money could be given to them, but they were contacted through Facebook and told about the collection for Grace.
The appeal raised more than £30, which is being sent to them. Melanie said: “We couldn't believe that complete strangers were doing this for our little girl.
“When we told Grace about everything that was happening she was so excited - she has been smiling ever since and telling all our family and friends about how kind people are being.”
Melanie said the family plans to return to Ashbourne in the spring, and pay another visit to Alton Towers. She said: “We’ll enjoy it all properly this time, so no doubt she'll be saving the money from the collection towards that again
“We are so grateful to everyone for their kindness and support, it really means a lot and has cheered Grace up so much.”