A WIDOW has been left heartbroken after a precious keepsake containing the ashes of her beloved husband were stolen by cruel thieves.
Christine Warner met her sweetheart Graham when they were both just 16 and were married a year later.
They spent nearly four decades together and went on to have two children and two grandsons before Graham tragically died from kidney failure and sepsis, aged 53, in January 2011.
To remember her husband, she bought a silver locket necklace and placed a picture of him in one side, and had his ashes encased by a small glass sheet in the other.
But on Monday evening, around 6.30pm, burglars broke into her home in Oxford Road, Hartlepool, and took the locket, along with a gold crucifix and a silver St Christopher necklace – items which Graham requested from his death bed that she give to their two grandsons on milestone birthdays.
Today, the 57-year-old mum-of-two fought back tears as she pleaded for the return of the stolen items and told the Mail of the agony the burglars has caused.
“Graham was the love of my heart and I just can’t believe that this has happened,” she said. “They could have taken anything else, but these I just cannot replace.
“The necklaces meant so much to me, and to Graham. Before he died he told me to give the gold crucifix to one of our grandsons on his 21st birthday, and the silver one to our other grandson on his 18th.”
Christine, who moved to Hartlepool with Graham seven years ago from Northampton, added: “I had the locket one made about six months after Graham passed away. It had a picture of him in one side and his ashes in the other side.
“I used to wear it when I went out somewhere nice because it made me feel closer to him, I knew he was with me.
“I took it off at other times because I have the rest of his ashes at home with me.
“I know it sounds morbid but we always said that whoever went first, the other would keep their ashes, so that when we had both passed away our ashes could be put together.
“It’s awful to say but I didn’t want to be hear when he’d gone, and it was this necklace and my family which kept me going and kept me on track. Now this goes and happens.
“I just really want to get them back.”
Christine, who would have been celebrating her 40th wedding anniversary last month had Graham still been alive, was out visiting a friend at the time of the raid.
Her 19-year-old grandson was sleeping when the crooks smashed her kitchen window and helped themselves to the jewellery.
They fled out of the front door when the teenager got up to investigate after hearing men’s voices on the stairs of the house.
Police were called and officers have been scouring the house and surrounding area as part of their ongoing investigation.
A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: “Anyone who has information on the burglary or who may have been offered this jewellery for sale is asked to contact Cleveland Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on (0800) 555111.”