OAP attacked during charity collection

A PENSIONER has told of the terrifying moment when a youth attacked her in broad daylight while she collected money for charity.Betty Calver, 75, from the Stowmarket area, described how she was left in "complete shock" after she was mugged by a youth in Needham Market while collecting donations on behalf of Christian Aid.

A PENSIONER has told of the terrifying moment when a youth attacked her in broad daylight while she collected money for charity.

Betty Calver, 75, from the Stowmarket area, described how she was left in "complete shock" after she was mugged by a youth in Needham Market while collecting donations on behalf of Christian Aid.

She was speaking on the day Prime Minister Tony Blair signalled a major crackdown on violent crime - announced in a package of proposals in the Queen's Speech.

The attack happened on Monday just after 6pm when Mrs Calver was knocked to the ground as she and an elderly neighbour called at a house in Freehold Road to collect a donation envelope.


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Although she bravely fought to keep a grip on her bag, which contained money collected that night as part of Christian Aid Week, she was eventually overpowered and the young offender ran away.

Mrs Calver, who lives with her husband Don, 83, said: "We had gone about a quarter of a mile up the road calling at houses for their envelopes when we noticed a young man loitering around.

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"He must have got in front of us because when we went into the road we saw him talking on his mobile phone, standing inside a high hedge.

"I just went to take another step or two and that's all I remember until I was struggling on the floor trying to get him off my bag. He was very quick. I don't know what he did but my head was bleeding very badly.

"I didn't see him come up behind me but he knocked me to ground and all I can remember is trying to pull my bag away from him so that he wouldn't get the money. It was terrifying."

She added: "I'm just so angry that he has taken money that was going to a good cause to people that really needed it. I feel like I have let people down because it is their money that has been stolen."

Mrs Calver, who has lived in Suffolk for most of her life, was taken to Ipswich Hospital after a passing motorist called the emergency services and was treated for gash to the head, a torn ligament in her shoulder and bruises to her arms and legs.

Her daughter Gloria Hall said that she was "very saddened" by the whole incident.

"I'm just very very saddened by the callousness of someone that can steal from an elderly lady who is collecting money on behalf of charity."

However the brave pensioner, who is a lay elder with Needham Market Church and often visits other elderly people within the community, is not letting the attack get her down.

"I won't let him beat me. I'm going to carry on," Mrs Calver added. "I've been collecting for 40 years and never experienced anything like this before. Something like this is very rare as Needham Market is usually very quiet."

The Rev Paul Daltry, rural dean and priest-in-charge at Needham Market, said Mrs Calver is a church stalwart who is always helping others.

Mr Daltry said: "It's so sad that this should happen to such a wonderful lady. Betty is a stalwart; she does so much for the church and lots of others outside church life.

"For her to be roughed up is absolutely appalling and when I heard I was shocked."

Investigating officer Detective Constable Dan Connick added: "This was a cowardly attack on an elderly and vulnerable woman, it is important that we locate the person responsible as soon as possible."

The offender is described as a white, aged between 16 and 20 years old, approximately 5ft 6ins tall, with a chiselled face and acne on his cheeks and the sides of his jaw. At the time of the incident he was wearing a navy blue sweatshirt and grey trousers.

Anyone who recognises this description or who information about this incident should contact Dc Dan Connick at Suffolk Constabulary on 01473 613500. Calls can also be made anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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