Pensioner has fundraising pot filled to £2,000 after recent theft

Watch: report by ITV News Meridian's Sarah Saunders

Pensioner Dale Howting has been raising money for charity in Sittingboure for more than 40 years. 

So when thieves stole his collection box containing around £50, while Dale was popping his lottery numbers on, the community stepped up to help.

Whatever the weather, Dale Howting heads to Sittingbourne town centre to raise money for charity and bring a smile to peoples faces.

Even during lockdown, the 86 year-old kept fund-raising from his front garden.

The community set up a JustGiving page to replace the missing funds. Credit: ITV News Meridian

On Monday when the shops opened for the first time in months, Dale had a bumper day and raised around £50. But when he popped into the betting shop to get his lottery numbers, thieves grabbed and dumped the bike and stole charity box.

Dale said, "All of a sudden they said your bikes been stolen!  I said No! And I turned around and they'd gone with it!  The shock."

The community set up a JustGiving page to replace the missing funds.

Within 3 days £2000 had been donated, allowing Dale to smash his lifetime fundraising target of £300,000!

Dale Howting

Local supporter Jackie Davidson says "He's such an infectious character, everybody knows him and they all know him."

Joanne Povey, supporter

Wherever you see Dale hanging around, maybe you can spare him a few coppers.