Published: 09:32, 02 May 2021
| Updated: 14:50, 04 May 2021
Dale Howting, Sittingbourne's 'whistling postman' has gone ahead and insisted on donating £50 out of his own pocket to children's charity Demelza.
Dale, 87, had the cash stolen from a locked box bolted onto his bike on Monday, April 12 after collecting for charity in the town centre.
He was on his way home from Roman Square at about 1.30pm when his cycle, locked but left outside Coral bookmakers in East Street, was carried off by two yobs. It was later found abandoned but with its box and money gone.
Since the news broke, the town has come together and pledged £3,000 on a Go Fund Me page launched by shop manager Ryan Taylor.
Personal donations to Dale, who sits on his bike collecting cash, have also gone through the roof with many thrusting fivers and tenners into his tin. Last week he raised more than £1,000 for a collection of good causes which has taken his total to more than £3,000 since he began in 2017.
But he insisted: "I am still going to pay back that £50 back. It's not right that people put that money in and it was taken away. I don't want the poor children to suffer."
True to his word, he handed over a personal cheque to Claire Battersby of Sittingbourne-based Demelza Children’s Hospice outside its shop in Roman Square on Thursday last week.
Dale had been £1,000 short of his target on the morning of the theft. Since then, the response from the public has been so great he has reached his goal and he has now set his sights on reaching £400,000.
He vowed: “I’m going to keep on collecting until they carry me off.”
He had been hoping to reach £300,000 last year but Covid put paid to his plans. However, undeterred, the plucky retired postie insisted on sitting on his bike outside his home in Goodnestone Road during lockdown raising as much as he could.
Police are still looking for two youths who ran off with the bike. It is believed they may have followed Dale from the town centre.
Kent Police spokesman Natalie Hardy said: “Enquiries remain ongoing but no arrests have been made as yet.”
If you can help, call police on 101 or anonymously on Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 (www.crimestoppers-uk.org) quoting 46/60442/21.