A BORDERS man suspects jewellery was stolen from his late grandmother while she was in hospital – and police are now investigating.
Elizabeth (or Betty) Wilson, 82, was moved from the Borders General Hospital (BGH) back to Hawick for a couple of days this spring. She later returned to the BGH.
However, when Elizabeth was back in Hawick, her family were upset to discover she was without her jewellery.
“I’m angry,” said 38-year-old grandson William Wilson. “How anyone could do this… Especially when someone’s meant to be in the best place for them – a hospital.”
The jewellery included Elizabeth’s 64-year-old engagement ring and her 63-year-old wedding ring – she and her husband William (senior), 86, were due to celebrate their 64th wedding anniversary in October. However, Elizabeth died on March 23.
Grandson William, originally from Hawick but now living in Dunfermline, told the Border Telegraph: “I actually went straight down from my work to the BGH to see her for the last time.
“He [grandfather] is beside himself. They were very rarely apart.”
NHS Borders ‘supporting police’
The missing items also include a large gold crucifix, an eternity ring which is around 50 years old, and two other rings.
Due to having strokes in the past, Elizabeth had trouble with her speech. However, her family understood that her belongings had been moved to a locker in the BGH for safekeeping.
When they raised the issue of missing jewellery, hospital staff conducted their own investigation – but nothing was found.
William said: “The only paperwork they [BGH] had about the jewellery was when she actually arrived in A&E the first time.
“And there’s been no other documentation of the jewellery.”
A spokesperson for NHS Borders said: “We are supporting the police with their enquiries.”
William believes that if the jewellery had been misplaced and the necessary paperwork forgotten about, the missing items would have been found during the hospital’s search.
“In my eyes – I’m not one to judge or accuse – there’s no other explanation for the rings going missing, or the chain [apart from theft],” William said.
Aside from the jewellery’s monetary value, it also holds significant sentimental worth to Elizabeth’s family.
William, a vehicle parts advisor, told the Border Telegraph: “It’s not the financial value that we’re looking at, it’s more the sentimental value for my grandad.
“He wants the [wedding] ring back to put on his chain – keep it close to him.
“My cousins, they wanted the engagement ring and eternity ring.
“They’ve been in the family for so long – to only see the one generation and not be able to pass them down to kids, grandkids, it’s heartbreaking.”
‘Always close to her’
William reported the missing jewellery to the police, and an investigation is ongoing.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Officers are investigating the reported theft of items of jewellery from within a hospital in the Scottish Borders which was received on Monday, April 26, 2021.
“Enquiries remain ongoing.”
William was very close with his grandmother, particularly after his mum died in 2001 when he was in the army.
“I was always close to my grandmother. Even when my mother was alive I would stay at my grandmother’s every week,” William said.
The family’s goal now is to have the jewellery returned to them, even if it is done anonymously.
William said: “Whether they’ve been misplaced, or whether they’ve been taken – if somebody has taken them all that we do ask is, they can do it anonymously, drop it in the police station, drop it at the BGH, somewhere somebody can find them.”