Srah Murray thank you message and Mays Kitchen, Billericay

Article by Tom Dare: A Billericay woman who lost £300 set aside for Christmas presents for her disabled daughter has said she is "overwhelmed" after a crowdfunder raised more than £3,000 to replace the money.

Lucy Murray, 51, lost her purse outside May's Kitchen Chinese Takeaway in Billericay on Thursday (November 17), and when she recovered it, the money was missing.

The purse contained £300 in cash, which Lucy had been saving to pay for Christmas shopping for her and her family this year.

Lucy's husband has been diagnosed with a very serious illness and her 16-year-old daughter, Sarah, has Down's Syndrome, meaning the family have been surviving on benefits while Lucy teaches Sarah from home.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Lucy"]To the person who found my purse in or just outside May's Kitchen Chinese Takeaway - I fully accept that it was my stupid forgetfulness that made me either leave it on the seat in the takeaway or perhaps drop it as I left," she said in a Facebook post on Thursday evening. What a pity that you emptied it of the £300 cash my husband had just given me yesterday for all our Christmas shopping. I am at least grateful that you didn't take my debit card or precious photos. Just so you know - my husband is ill, our little girl has Down's syndrome and we have to manage on benefits. Life was already a struggle, thanks. I hope you use the money to have a lovely Christmas. I'm sure it will now be better than mine. Enjoy[/quote]

The original Facebook post has had over 615 reactions and nearly 500 comments since being posted, prompting fellow Billericay resident Ceri Pritchard to launch a GoFundMe page to help replace the money that Lucy lost.

The campaign received a spectacular reaction, raising more than £3,000 from 300 people in just 14 hours, and Lucy says she can't believe the response.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Lucy"]I'm completely in awe at the people of Billericay. It was such an unexpected reaction, such an out-pouring of love and kindness," she said. I have tried and failed several times to express the amazement, gratitude and love I am feeling right now. What started off as a silly two-minute rant about my own stupid carelessness and rotten luck has escalated into something beautiful. I expected nothing and was truly stunned by the wonderful reactions.[/quote]

Lucy now plans to extend the goodwill that others have shown to her, and pass on some of the funds that have been raised.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Lucy"]We are desperate to share our good fortune and ask that if anyone else is moved enough to offer help, could they either buy an extra gift for someone in our name, or donate to Children In Need please. We honestly have now received so much more than we could ever need to have a fantastic Christmas.[/quote]

Essex Party Hire, a business along Billericay High Street, have offered to act as a drop-off point for gifts for people that need them this Christmas.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Lucy"]If people wrap a gift and label if it's for girl or boy (including relevant age) or man or women, this company will distribute to local children's homes or women's refuges,[/quote]

The drop-off point is at Essex Party Hire, Audit House, 151 High Street , Billericay, and to donate to the crowdfunder, visit:

Article by Tom Dare, EssexLive

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