93-Year-Old Thanks ‘Friendliest Town In The West’ For Returning Wallet

A 93-year old Shaftesbury man says he is delighted that irreplaceable photographs inside his missing wallet have been returned.

Tony Hawkins says that the kindness of locals has left him ‘speechless’ after he reported the loss of his leather case containing pictures of his late wife and teenage son.

Keri Jones of ThisIsAlfred.com caught up with Tony as he called into the Trinity Centre for lunch. Tony is clearly happy. He was beaming as he explained how hundreds of residents had shared a Facebook appeal for the return of his wallet. “People from all over the place. Even the Rector – she asked me,” said Tony.

Tony Hawkins

Tony had visited the Trinity Centre on 19th December. He realised that he didn’t have his wallet when he returned home. He thought that it had fallen out of his pocket as he walked around the town later in the day. In fact, Tony dropped his wallet inside the Trinity Centre and a well-intentioned person picked it up and put it in what they thought was Tony’s jacket pocket. But it wasn’t his coat.

“The lady who found it gave it back to me. And I can only conclude that she put it into the wrong windcheater,” said Tony. “Nobody picked it up because it wasn’t in the street to be picked up,” he added.

All of the wallet contents, including cash, have now been returned. “Here it is, back in my hand,” smiled Tony, as he clutched the brown leather wallet. And there’s an extra item inside. “Now I have two bus passes,” laughed Tony. His OAP travel permit had been reissued after he reported his wallet as missing.

Tony is full of praise for locals who offered to help hunt for the wallet. “Shaftesbury is wonderful. I think it’s the friendliest town, not only in the South West but the whole of England, I reckon,” Tony said.

Now Tony is determined to do his bit to strengthen the community spirit in Shaftesbury. He’s launching regular social sessions where residents can mingle and make new friends. “I’m starting, with the Town Hall’s agreement, a Friendly Club on Saturday afternoons, when it is free. I know it is available this Saturday. The event will go on from 2.30pm or 3pm until around 5pm. People can just come along,” said Tony.

Tony hopes that people will stay in town for the event this Saturday afternoon (5th January) when they’ve completed their chores. “They will probably have done their shopping in the morning, had a bite to eat in The Mitre or somewhere else nice. Then, why go back home? They can go to the Town Hall, talk to their friends and make new ones,” said Tony. If you can’t make this weekend’s first Friendly Club, the next event will be held on the 16th of March.

Tony will continue to host his tea dances too. The inaugural session, before Christmas, proved popular. “Over forty people came along. It was in aid of charities. We were able to give £200 to the Children’s Society and £100 to the Memory Café,” said Tony.

The Town Council rents out the hall at a reduced, charitable rate and once costs are met, surplus income from the £5 entry fee will benefit the Shaftesbury Branch of The Children’s Society. Their members give their time to help with setting up the dances and they donate cakes and serve refreshments. Attendees get a first slice of cake and tea or coffee as part of their admission.

“There were some very good dancers there,” said Tony. And he promises that there will be some tracks suitable for old time dancing next time, on the afternoon of Saturday 2nd February. You can now follow the event – @ShaftesburyTeaDances – on Facebook. If you have any questions then email creativelilsquirrel@gmail.com.