THE Adver’s coverage of a shocking theft led to readers donating hundreds of pounds to the elderly victim.

Geraldine Croucher experienced the best and worst of humanity when a good Samaritan helped her after she fell and hit her head in the town centre last November.

While Ashley Reeves waited for the ambulance with her, an opportunistic thief stole Geraldine’s pension money from her unattended trolley.

The story hit our front page and later received national coverage, triggering an enormous outpouring of sympathy from Adver readers.

Ashley set up a fundraising page, which quickly doubled its target, and presented the money to Geraldine while she recovered in GWH.

The £159 stolen from her while she lay helpless was replaced with £538 from Adver readers.

Lara Croucher, Geraldine’s daughter, said: “That visit really lifted her spirits.

“Ashley was a real hero and she loved being able to thank him in person.

“She was amazed by all the people who sent in money, and knowing that there were so many nice people out there helped her recover.

“The nurses said she was their celebrity and they’d seen her in the paper.

“Some family members who hadn’t visited her in a while got in touch when they heard the news, it’s brought us all closer together.

“The neighbours got her welcome home presents when she left hospital because they’d read about what happened to her.”

Geraldine’s recovery took much longer than expected - she was discharged from hospital just before Easter.

The impact of the fall left her with nerve damage in her brain that has caused balance problems and limited her mobility.

Lara added: “The fall has had a life-changing effect.

“I’m agoraphobic and she always used to go out and about, but now the roles have reversed.

“She’s stuck indoors and I have to go outside to get her shopping. It’s been a learning experience for both of us.

“She’s determined to get moving again, she’ll soldier on, and she’s still in good spirits.”

Lara added: “I went to the Adver just to make people aware of the dangerous people out there, I didn’t expect any fundraising.

“Geraldine and I want to thank everyone for their help, we’re so grateful.

“I was going to buy a nice chair for her with the money, but the physiotherapist got her a recliner that she can also use as a bed. We’ve still got some money left. We might get her a wheelchair or mobility scooter when she’s a bit better.”