Council returns lost purse with £500 in it to woman who accidentally put it in the bin

Tributes left outside Fareham Academy.

Picture: Ian Hargreaves (180012-4)

Academy sends out thanks for overwhelming support after a teacher dies suddenly

  • Woman accidentally put her purse with £500 cash in it in her bin before leaving for shopping in the morning
  • Bin was then collected by the refuse team later that day
  • After rushing home, she rang the council who returned it to her in under two hours
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WE’VE all had that sinking feeling that we’ve mislaid something important.

For Pat Chawner, this feeling quickly turned to one of dread when she realised she did not have her purse while shopping in Portchester.

Pat Chawner delivers biscuits to say thank you for finding her wallet to, from left, Damian Ayling, transport supervisor, Matt Griffin, Richard Carver, Wesley Allen, Phil West and Nigel Vine. 

Picture: Sarah Standing (161619-8076)

Pat Chawner delivers biscuits to say thank you for finding her wallet to, from left, Damian Ayling, transport supervisor, Matt Griffin, Richard Carver, Wesley Allen, Phil West and Nigel Vine. Picture: Sarah Standing (161619-8076)

It was then that she recalled placing the purse – containing £500 in cash along with debit and credit cards – into her rubbish bin on collection day.

She rushed home only to have her fears confirmed that her rubbish was gone – and the purse was nowhere to be found.

But all was not lost.

Mrs Chawner immediately got in touch with Fareham Borough Council – which runs the refuse collection service – and to her ‘amazement’, got a knock on the door less than two hours later to be handed back her purse, with all the cash and cards intact.

I didn’t think I would ever see the purse again but to have the refuse team go and dig it out, amidst all that other rubbish and return it to me, with everything accounted for - it just reaffirms my belief in people

Pat Chawner

She said: ‘I was just amazed. I didn’t think I would ever see the purse again but to have the refuse team go and dig it out, amidst all that other rubbish and return it to me, with everything accounted for – it just reaffirms my belief in people.’

The workshop team at the council’s refuse depot in Broadcut, Fareham, sifted through an estimated six tonnes of waste before they discovered the battered red purse.

Mrs Chawner, 71, of Winnham Drive, Portchester, was given the news while she was out in the garden and her husband, Robin, called out to say the purse had been found.

She said: ‘I just think the honesty of the workers who found it is unbelievable.

‘Nobody would have expected that they would find it, and that quickly, too!

‘To me, it was customer service that went beyond the call of duty.’

Ms Chawner met with the workshop team at the depot yesterday where she expressed her thanks and gave chocolate biscuits to transport supervisor Damian Ayling and workers Matt Griffin, Richard Carver, Wesley Allen, Phil West and Nigel Vine.

She told them: ‘I just can’t thank you enough. It would have been a huge annoyance to lose that amount of money.’

The purse has since been disposed of on the advice of the refuse team.

Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘I am delighted the team were able to find Pat’s purse and could hand it back to her with everything still in there.

‘They truly went above and beyond to help this customer.’