Edlington veteran’s dismay at vegetable theft

Veteran Eric Gill, 97, of Edlington, pictured with some of his remaining vegetables. Picture: Marie Caley D5547MC
Veteran Eric Gill, 97, of Edlington, pictured with some of his remaining vegetables. Picture: Marie Caley D5547MC
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Raids on a war veteran’s vegetable patch won’t stop a determined 97-year-old from gardening.

Eric Gill, of Nelson Road Flats in Edlington, has vowed to keep on digging despite his shock at discovering that thieves had broken into his garden and raided his vegetable patch.

Mr Gill, who fought in the 49th West Riding Infrantry during World War Two, gives away most of his vegetables to friends and worshippers at the Priory Methodist Church.

The pensioner says giving out vegetables is something he uses to meet people and make friends, and says he is ‘heartbroken’ over the loss.

He said: “I’m really sad that people would take them from me.

“They took the plant tubs right out of the garden. I think they got in through a hole in my fence. I’m particularly upset that they took the tomato plants, it took ages for them to grow.

“Even if they just get taken again I’m still going to carry on and grow more next spring. I’m not going to let them stop me from gardening.

“If you’ve got some earth, you should grow something in it, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Mr Gill’s flat is owned by St Leger Homes, which manages 21,000 homes across the district on behalf of Doncaster Council.

Susan Jordan, chief executive, said: “We are sorry to hear about this theft from Mr Gill’s garden. Members of our estates team have been to visit him in his home to offer help and support. We have not previously had a report of damage to the garden fence but we will now investigate.”

Ann Plant, who regularly attends Priory Methodist Church says Mr Gill takes such joy at giving out his vegetables to others, and calls the theft of his vegetables ‘absolutely disgusting’.

She said: “He’s such a generous man, and I can’t believe anyone would do this to him. Our hearts go out to him and I hope whoever did it gets caught soon.”