‘PRICELESS’ romantic poems and old photographs were in a handbag stolen from a Wimborne cafe at the weekend.

Joan Pritchard, 85, was with her daughter Jackie Drake at the Riverside Cafe in Mill Lane when the bag went missing on Saturday, June 8.

Inside the bag were poems written by Mrs Pritchard’s late husband Fred, who died three years ago. The couple had spent 65 years together.

Irreplaceable photographs of Mrs Pritchard’s parents were also in the bag.

Jackie said: “We’re not exactly sure how it happened.

“I know when we left the cafe I looked back and I didn’t see it there.

“We know she had it because she took money out of it.

“It’s just a little brown leather bag with a long shoulder strap.

“It’s probably six inches by six inches – big enough for her purse and phone.

“There was a bit of money in there, as well as her driving licence and bus pass, both of which will need to be replaced.

“But the most important things were some photos she had with her, and the poems written by my father to her.

“She had pictures of her parents, my father, her grandchildren and her children. The photo of her parents can’t be replaced as I don’t have a copy.

“They’ll be absolutely worthless to the thief, but they’re priceless for her and we desperately want them back.”

Jackie said they left the cafe at around 3.45pm on Saturday. The theft has been reported to police.

Jackie’s daughter Natasha has also issued a plea for help on social media, where it has since been shared more than 1,000 times.

The appeal reads: “Mr poor Nan had her bag stolen on June 6 in Wimborne at the Riverside Cafe.

“She is 85 and in her bag she had old pictures of my grandad and poems he had written for her.

“We sadly lost my grandad a few years ago and these mean so much to her.

“She is so distressed and upset, if there was any way of getting these back to her it would be a miracle.

“We think someone took her bag from the seat next to her when she wasn’t watching.

“We have informed the police, but it’s the memories in the bag she is longing for.”

Jackie said Mrs Pritchard often re-reads the poems when she feels upset and misses her husband.

“After my dad died, I bought mum a little crystal angel, and that was in there too,” she said.

“These things don’t mean anything to anyone but us and we’re just hoping someone might find the bag dumped somewhere.”

To speak to police with information about the theft, visit dorset.police.uk or call 101.