ON Sunday September 18, after a day helping the Fenland Light Railway to raise funds for the East Anglian Air Ambulance on our charity day, I decided I would buy a takeaway before I drove the last bit home.

I got to the Golden Lake in Mayfield Road, Hartford, at about 6.30pm, ordered and paid for my meal and sat down to send a text while I waited. Unfortunately, I couldn't send the text (although I didn't know I had a technical problem at the time).

My meal was soon ready, and I left the takeaway with my phone and food in my left hand and my walking stick in the other.

When I got home five minutes later, I went to take my purse, food and stick indoors - no purse.

I quickly took those bits in, emptied my boot of the other items in it and shot back to the takeaway, where I arrived at about 6.50pm. The staff and I looked everywhere for my new bright red leather purse, but there was no sign of it. We even checked the CCTV, but all we could see of the next person to sit where I had been sitting was a yellow coat and her hair.

I reported the loss to the police the next day and, although there were no credit cards in the purse, there were several membership cards. My Medic Alert card, listing my allergy to quite a few modern drugs including penicillin and anti-tetanus jabs, my Britannia Rescue card - I am disabled - and my bus pass were all in the purse, along with other items listing my name and telephone number.

Among other items in the purse were some irreplaceable mementos, a black cat, a guardian angel and an American penny impressed with the Empire State Building, a reminder of my journey to and around New York with my late husband.

While I am cross with myself for mislaying my purse and the £20-£30 it contained, I am more annoyed with whoever lifted my purse and can only assume that person considers it right to steal from a disabled pensioner, even though he or she could have made an attempt to return it to me, via the takeaway, the police of direct contact.

There were at least four items in that bright red purse that bore my name and address, and one even has my telephone number on it.

I hope this letter pricks the conscience of the purse-lifter and makes him or her think twice before doing such a thing again.

Mrs M E BARRETT

Eaton Close

Hartford