WE DIDN’T need any proof that we’ve got Britain’s best readers – but if we did, now we have it in spades.

Our story on William Taylor was read by thousands of you. And the response has been huge.

As we reported, Mr Taylor, who is 103, was left fearing he’d never go out again after a thief stole his £300 motability scooter.

He uses the transport to get around and visit local shops and the local Salvation Army HQ, as well as to see his granddaughter Julie Shields.

Mrs Shields said that her grandfather, who served as an electrician during the war, had been “very low” since the scooter was stolen from a secure spot at his Christchurch home.

She added: “They haven’t just stolen a scooter.

“They’ve stolen his peace of mind and his independence.”

The story appeared in the Daily Echo as Thursday’s front page. And ever since, our phones have been ringing off the hook with readers offering to help.

At the time of going to press, six people have offered to buy Mr Taylor a new scooter outright. One gentleman with a motability car said he’d be pleased to drive Mr Taylor wherever he wishes to go.

Others have set up fundraising pages to ensure the scooter is replaced. Hundreds of pounds have been donated in support.

None of the individuals who have contacted us wanted any press for their generosity, but all wished to help out.

Mrs Shields yesterday said she has been left “overwhelmed” by the number of people who have come forward.

“It’s just been amazing,” she said.

“We can’t really believe how many people have offered to help.”

The family are speaking with a lady who has offered her late father’s scooter to Mr Taylor.

“We know of so many generous donations, and we will make sure they go to a Dorset charity involved in mobility or supporting the elderly,” she said.

“We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone. We’re overwhelmed.”

Mr Taylor’s family had not reported the theft to police for fear of upsetting him further.

The scooter was not insured when it was taken, meaning it cannot be easily replaced.

Mr Taylor lives independently at his flat, with the assistance of a carer and his family,

Until he reached his centenary three years ago was a keen bowler, earning himself the nickname ‘The Oldest Bowler in Town’.

And here's what our editor thinks...

REPORTING the news can be a dispiriting affair, and no doubt reading it can be too.

Stories of crime, terrible crashes and accidents, corruption and incompetence all ultimately find their way into the papers, the news sites and onto social media, and if the reader is not careful it can leave one feeling a little jaded.

On Thursday we reported on 103-year-old William Taylor, who was left stranded in his home after thieves made off with his mobility scooter.

They may not have known his age, but to take such an essential life-aid away from anyone is a deeply cruel and selfish act.

In such circumstances we at the Echo know that many people rally round to help those in need, and we have always done our best to bring such stories into the public eye.

The scale of the response to Mr Taylor’s plight has, however, taken even us by surprise.

It is easy to get caught up in a miserable, even misanthropic, frame of mind while hearing about division, conflict and misfortune.

We should remember the good deeds always hugely outnumber the bad.