Beds, Herts & Bucks

Berkhamsted woman, 89, delighted with new bicycle after theft

Mary Hampton and her bicycle Image copyright Berkhamsted Cycling Club
Image caption Mary Hampton was given a new bicycle two days after the theft hit social media

An elderly woman whose bicycle was stolen while she was shopping has been overwhelmed by offers of replacements.

Mary Hampton's bicycle was taken while she did her weekly shop in Waitrose.

The 89-year-old from Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire admitted she was "very silly" not to have locked it, but in 85 years of cycling she "never had".

After news of the theft hit social media, dozens offered to buy Mary a new one. Her local cycling club has loaned her one "for as long as I need it".

Mrs Hampton was in the habit of cycling the three miles to the supermarket once or twice a week on her trusty Raleigh Shopper.

Image caption Mrs Hampton now has a lock for her new bicycle
Image caption Mary Hampton's new bicycle was donated by a cycling club

But when she went shopping last Thursday, she returned to find her bike gone.

The former primary school teacher said: "It was an old-looking bike, I didn't think anybody would be going to steal it."

Her plight was shared on social media and within 24 hours, dozens of offers of new bicycles flooded in for Mary via Facebook.

She finally accepted a loan of a fold-up bicycle from Berkhamsted Cycling Club.

People also clubbed together to give her money for a new lock and a basket for her new bike.

Image caption She was overwhelmed by offers of help

"I've bought a huge padlock. I've never seen such a big padlock," Mrs Hampton said.

"One bad action happened, but think of the wonderful kindness and caring that's come from it," she added.

Image copyright Berkamsted Cycling Club
Image caption Simon Voysey from Berkhamsted Cycling Club brought the new bicycle to Mary