Sheerness couple devastated at theft of charity model village
Josephine and Leonard
Aylwin outside their Sheerness allotment shed with what is left of
their miniature circus
by Emma Grove
A heartbroken couple have made an emotional plea for the return
of a stolen hand-crafted model collection used to raise money for
For almost 20 years, Leonard Aylwin has been working on his
miniature village, which he tours around the Isle of
Sheppey in support of various good causes.
The models, including a farmyard and circus, were stored in a
shed at the 84-year-old's allotment in Medway Road, Sheerness.
Mr Aylwin had not been there for a few weeks because of a
bad back, but when he arrived on Sunday he discovered the bottom of
the shed door had been smashed in and three boxes of his hard work
had been stolen.
Other parts of his beloved collection were strewn around on the
floor inside and outside the shed.
The stolen boxes contained a steamroller, trapeze, horse-drawn
tar-boiler, wagon and a caravan made from match-sticks.
Mr Aylwin, of Estuary Road, Sheerness, said: "They are mindless
"It's sentimental to us and we want it back."
Josephine and Leonard
Aylwin's miniature circus before it was stolen
Mr Aylwin started the collection after he and his wife Josephine
retired from running a family circus and moved to the Island from
Essex when he was 65.
Over the years the couple, who have more than 30 grandchildren
and great grandchildren, has raised hundreds of pounds for
charities including The Freedom Centre, Demelza Hospice Care for
Children and Help for Heroes.
They raised funds by exhibiting the collection at various fun
days and popular events such as the Flowers in a Country Church
Festival at Harty.
Mr Aylwin said: "It's taken years and now it's all gone. Some of
it had just been chucked outside.
"If anybody knows anything about it, please get in touch with
Mrs Aylwin, 70, said: "How can anyone be so horrible? Why did
they take it? What value is it to them?
"The kids love it when we go round – our grandchildren love it
and they have been really upset.
"They used to say 'you'll never get rid of your circus will you
"It means a lot to us and it hurts when you know you have done
all this good work."
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