A stolen plaque has been returned to Ninewells Hospital after the Royal Marine Commando who donated it launched an appeal for it to be given back.
Cancer patient, Stuart Lavery was left “disgusted” after a beret and dagger he’d presented to Ward 34 more than two years ago was stolen last month.
The veteran launched an appeal online for its safe return and said be believes that made the plaque “too hot to handle”, sparking the culprit’s decision to send it back.
The 67-year-old who has terminal multiple myeloma cancer – which effects the blood and bones – was informed by nurses that the item was sent back via the post.
Despite being returned staff sadly confirmed the item had been broken, with Stuart advising he is already working on getting it replaced.
The chairman of 45 Commado Veterans in Arbroath added: “A nurse told me that it had been returned but it had been smashed.
“I hadn’t seen it at that stage but given it’s plaster cast I started working on getting it replaced.
“Looking at the image it looks like someone has tried to smash it thinking they could get to the dagger.
“It’s a marine in Ipswich that makes them, we’ve already got a new one done. It looks like we could just replace the old engraving from the old one onto the new one.
“I’m back at the hospital at the end of the month and I’m hoping to present them with the new one.”
Stuart said many people had been in touch to slam those responsible for stealing the plaque from the cancer ward.
“Part of me still thinks the plaque never actually left the hospital,” he said.
“I think with the social media appeal and it going in the paper it’s made the item too hot to handle.
“You really have to be the lowest of the low to steal items off of a cancer ward. The way that plaque was mounted someone would have to had come prepared to take that off.”
One Royal Marine Commando from Edinburgh donated £100 to replace the plaque after reading the story.
Stuart said the three-figure sum will be donated to ward 34 for them to use accordingly.
He added: “There has been a great response to this.
“There was an 84-year-old veteran from Edinburgh who donated a cheque of £100 towards getting a replacement.
“He had written a letter to say he was disgusted by what happened. It was a tremendous gesture to donate the cash.
“We are going to going to present that cheque to Ward 34 to allow them to use the cash as they wish, along with the new plaque.”
A spokeswoman from NHS Tayside confirmed the item had been returned via the mail.
She added: “We are delighted the plaque has been returned.
“We hope that it can be back on display in the ward as soon as possible.”