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Rainham family appeal for help after burglars steal grandmother Jean’s beautiful engagement ring

PUBLISHED: 10:58 05 October 2017 | UPDATED: 14:33 05 October 2017

Walter and Jean Gardiner who were happily married for 64 years until Walter died in 2015. Burglars have stolen Jean's engagement ring, inset, from Rainham, and the family are devastated. Picture: Gardiner Family

Walter and Jean Gardiner who were happily married for 64 years until Walter died in 2015. Burglars have stolen Jean's engagement ring, inset, from Rainham, and the family are devastated. Picture: Gardiner Family

Gardiner Family

A Rainham family have been left devastated after callous burglars stole the beautiful engagement ring given by granddad Walter to his wife 66 years ago.

Burglars have stolen Jean's engagement ring, given by her late husband Walter, and the family are devastated. Picture: Gardiner FamilyBurglars have stolen Jean's engagement ring, given by her late husband Walter, and the family are devastated. Picture: Gardiner Family

Walter Gardiner sadly died in 2015, after being happily married for more than half a century, and his widow Jean, 84, and daughter Ann, 58, are desperate to get the ring back.

The thieves broke into Ann’s house, in Warwick Road, at around 1pm yesterday, shortly after she had left, and when Jean was at a hospital appointment.

They took the engagement ring, a special necklace with Walter’s face engraved on it and some other jewellery, but left £200 which was lying in the kitchen.

Ann’s daughter Jess Dellar-Gardiner, who only moved from her mum’s house to Hornchuch last month, told the Recorder that her “nan couldn’t stop crying” when she heard the terrible news.

Walter and Jean Gardiner on their wedding day 64 years ago. They were happily married until Walter died in 2015. Burglars have stolen Jean's engagement ring from Rainham, and the family are devastated. Picture: Gardiner FamilyWalter and Jean Gardiner on their wedding day 64 years ago. They were happily married until Walter died in 2015. Burglars have stolen Jean's engagement ring from Rainham, and the family are devastated. Picture: Gardiner Family

“She’s so devastated,” Jess, 23, said.

“She still thinks you can leave your doors unlocked like in the old days.”

Jess continued: “My mum’s got almost nothing, and they took everything she had.

“My nan told me the ring has no value, it cost £15 and 10 shillings in 1961.

Walter and Jean Gardiner who were happily married for 64 years until Walter died in 2015. Burglars have stolen Jean's engagement ring from Rainham, and the family are devastated. Picture: Gardiner FamilyWalter and Jean Gardiner who were happily married for 64 years until Walter died in 2015. Burglars have stolen Jean's engagement ring from Rainham, and the family are devastated. Picture: Gardiner Family

“We don’t care about the other stuff, they can keep that, we just want the ring back.”

Jess explained that Walter proposed to Jean just after he had returned from the navy, when he was just 20 years old.

The pair spent the next 64 years of their lives very much in love, before Walter sadly died two years ago.

“After that my nan gave the ring to my mum to keep it in the family,” Jess said tearfully.

Left to right: Jean Gardiner, granddaughters Georgina and Jess, and husband Walter. Picture: Gardiner FamilyLeft to right: Jean Gardiner, granddaughters Georgina and Jess, and husband Walter. Picture: Gardiner Family

“My nan’s so family orientated, she would do anything for us.”

Officers from the East Area Command Unit are investigating the burglary.

A Met police spokesman said: “Witnesses reported two males breaking into the property and then fleeing in a car driven by a third person.”

No arrests have been made and inquiries continue.

If you have any information please help the Gardiners and contact the police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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