A REMOVAL van filled with Linda Lye’s “whole life” was stolen from Bridgwater on Tuesday, November 10.
Ms Lye, 68, from Taunton, who was moving to enjoy her retirement by the coast in Bournemouth, lost “everything” including photos, jewellery and her mothers ashes.
The family were planning to scatter the ashes after the coronavirus pandemic was over.
“It’s probably the worst thing that’s ever happened to our family,” said her son, Andy Lye.
“Mum’s devastated. Her whole life was in the van, furniture, paintings, her clothes. Everything’s gone. All the stuff she’d built up over 68 years. The only clothes she was left with were those she was wearing.”
Personal documents were found dumped in the river near Othery – Ms Lye’s passport, bank statements and her three children’s birth certificates – which were found on Wednesday, November 11.
The removal company, who wish to remain anonymous, has offered a £5,000 reward for the return of the van, as they are hoping they can recover some of the items stolen.
“If anyone with information could please come forward – someone with dashcam footage or any information that would really help,” said a spokesperson for the company.
“If we could get the belongings back, it would save so much heartache.”
The white ford transit removal van (reg KN60 BFP) was loaded up with possessions in the Obridge area of Taunton, where Ms Lye lived.
The van driver had stopped off in Bridgwater to grab a drink or snack and so the van was left unattended in Taunton Road near to the Londis.
An Avon and Somerset Police Spokesperson said: “Police were called at 11.10am on Tuesday 10 November by a driver reporting that his removal van had been stolen from Bridgwater.
“The stolen van was full of the property of a lady in her 60s who was in the process of moving home.
“The theft has understandably caused her great distress.
“A handbag belonging to the lady was found in the river near Aller and handed in by a member of the public.
“Were you on Taunton Road at the time? Do you have any dashcam footage which could help? Do you know where the van is now?
“If you have any information which could help the investigation call 101 quoting reference 5220253970.
“Alternatively ring the independent charity Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Andy, his brother David and sister Jenny, have set up a fundraising appeal to raise money for the possessions lost when the van was stolen.
There was more than £10,000 worth of items in the van when it was taken.
To donate visit gofundme.com/f/help-our-mums-entire-home-stolen-in-house-move